This time around, Nazariya brings to you, the great Kaavi Wall Art. This unrevealed heritage of Goa is bound to leave you awestruck!

Kaavi Wall Art

Kaavi art on an old wall in Goa

Every time we think about Goa- the beautiful beaches, lingering seafood and a culturally diverse atmosphere are the chief thoughts that come to our mind. But Goa has so much more to offer. We hardly know about the rich heritage of Goa which now by hook or by crook is besieged for attention.

Kaavi art is what we are about to unleash. It’s one of the most sacred and oldest art forms of the Goan cultural heritage. Today on the verge of being a dying art form, Kaavi art is a form of painting in Konkan region in temples, houses, small shrines and walls of Roman Catholic Churches of Goa.

The term Kaav in Konkani refers to Indian red pigmentation which is the only color used in the art form which is obtained from the laterite soil. The specialty of the art form is its technique of the application of the murals on the wall: the reddish painting is artistically drawn against the white sandblasted background.

Kaavi Art Motif

The beautiful deep red colored motif of Kaavi Art

If you ponder over how the material is prepared then let me take you to the Goan beach and make you explore, how the snow-white lime is obtained by burning the sea shells and washed sand from river beds were mixed with jaggery and then is allowed to ferment for two weeks. This mixture is then effortlessly hand poured to obtain a homogenous substance which soon hardens and then is applied to the walls which enrich our eyes as Kaavi wall art!

The beauty of the art form has insisted it to spread its wings from Goa and expand its vistas to Maharashtra and Karnataka. But Goa being the origin of the art form has been deprived of Kaavi so far. Much of the works you will come across are mostly hundred years old and more maybe. Some are so old that they do not appear very presentable and the families who own the artwork have the lack of economic resources in order to restore the art. One problem faced in restoring this art in temples and houses is that we have no one practicing this art in Goa anymore. To perform Kaavi artisans need to import from Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Kaavi being an art form that can be composed as smoothly as butter and can also be so complex that it may require geometrical assistance. The architectural touch in Kaavi is commendable if you observe it so closely. If you let the ridges, platforms, and niches that are decorated with spirals, spades, semi-circles, and curves seep into you for a while and realize the architectural beauty in the two-dimensional art of Kaavi.

The following images depict the architectural attribute of Kaavi Art very precisely –

Kaavi art with architectural attributes

Kaavi art with architectural attributes

A pillar depicting extraordinary Kaavi Art

A pillar depicting extraordinary Kaavi Art

 

Kaavi can still be very well be seen at The Brahmini Maya Temple, Kshetrapal Temple in Agarvaddo, and Venkatesh and Parashuram in South Goa. However, inspite of its downfall the Goa Heritage Action Group has resolved to make the people and the government sit up and take notice in order to save Kaavi art from disappearing completely from Goa.

Since Goa is one of the highly admired tourist spots, the objective is to bring in the thought of people to see this thing of beauty and create more awareness. It will be a huge moment of loss if the art form is not preserved. Being at the stake of extinction Kaavi is not just an art form but a whole lot of perspective of knowledge, culture, belief, and stories of our ancestral history.

 It’s a call to preserve the intangible cultural heritage of one of the most exotic and popular travel destination of the world.  It’s the call to preserve Kaavi.


India has been a country with a very rich history and a much richer heritage. The Indian heritage has been a part of many art forms which have both been brought and developed in India some of which are even born in India itself. Arabic Calligraphy forms an integral part of this heritage. It was introduced in India around the 7th century by early Arabic traders. The core purpose of its existence is Spirituality and was initiated for preserving the scripts of the Holy Quran. With the establishment of Delhi Sultanate in India, Arabic Calligraphy developed analogously and has emerged as a mainstream art. Being a part of the Delhi Sultanate, Qutubuddin Aibak decorated and covered Qutub Minar with intricate carvings and verses of Quran.

The art form majorly flourished in the reign of the Mughals. It has been highly showcased in the monumental heritage like Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi and coins recognized by the Mughals. Therefore with the establishment of Muslim rule in India not only a diversity of culture was established but also the fresh ink of Arabic Calligraphy was initiated to last persistently. Arabic calligraphy is the virtue of the religious and spiritual aspect of life and is a simple yet highly artistic illustration of text from the Holy Quran.

In today’s scenario Calligraphy has become even more precious since Artists practicing this art are now rare to find and the ones  practicing it are continuously losing their demand and respect in the society. Nazariya has joined hands with these artists and has taken a pledge to give them the true value for their talent.

This Eid, admire their work by getting one of their masterpieces home. Explore more about Arabic Calligraphy in the Images given below. Get a customized manuscript for yourself by these Wonderful Artisans and wish your loved ones Eid in the most artistic way ever.

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Image Source: www.anokhi.com/museum

The two-story pink sandstone haveli in the dusty lanes of Amber is usually easy to miss. Many of the locals know this as Chanwar Palkiwalaon ki Haveli and not Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, eight miles outside Jaipur where women clad in the most colourful of sarees suspend their chat to wave at you.  The museum focuses on contemporary fabric ranging from innovative designs created by talented artisans to traditional outfits still worn in select regions today, albeit in dwindling numbers. A focused selection of historic textiles provides a context for a further understanding of block printing.

image source: http://josephinewilson.com/?p=417

Image Source: http://josephinewilson.com/?p=417

The one of its kind museum is an endeavour to preserve the community of artisans of 500-year-old block printing in Rajasthan. It was started by Anokhi, a clothing line selling block printed garments in stores across in India. The company was the brainchild of a British woman who married an Indian and moved to Jaipur in 1970, Faith Singh worked with local craftsmen to create contemporary prints on textiles that have become so popular in India and abroad. It was Ms Singh’s daughter-in- law Rachel Bracken-Singh who restored the dilapidated 17th- century mansion which once belonged to the palanquin bearers of the royals and turned it into a museum. This preservation project earned a UNESCO award for ‘Cultural Heritage Conservation’ in 2000. The old but well-maintained building is a cool relief from the desert heat.

 Large boards are put up in the open courtyard which explain the lengthy process of hand block printing. It all begins with the design to be printed on the textile. Once finalised—often floral, paisley or geometric—they are carved by hand onto wooden blocks which have been soaked in oil overnight and cleaned. These blocks are then used to print the pattern onto fabrics using natural vegetable dyes like indigo, pomegranate rind and turmeric in vibrant blues, reds and greens. 

 

 

 

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Image Source: www.google.com

 

 

Inside Anokhi

More than a hundred garments and blocks are on permanent display inside alcoves and galleries across two floors. There are ethnic designs and patterns  and also Western clothes in traditional prints, like knee-length dresses in shades of red and russet. On the roof-top terrace, a few craftsmen sit with their tools, ready to demonstrate their work to interested visitors. The museum also offers a 2-day course in block printing and wood carving to the enthusiasts. The museum shop carries a selection of hand-crafted merchandise which includes limited edition textiles, clothing, furnishings, jewellery, books and cards.

Anokhi is trying to preserve the dying craft which is overpowered by the more efficient and more economical machine-printing process damaging the livelihood of the artisans and threatening to extinguish an important craft. But it has a modern approach too. The team is always looking for new craftsmen and techniques to develop new garments in the main workshop on the outskirts of Jaipur. They have worked with a British designer to re-interpret William Morris’s prints, made costumes inspired by the Russian theatre, and worked their patterns into contemporary fashion—all of which are showcased in temporary exhibitions.

 

 

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Image Source: www.anokhi.com/museum

 

Visit them in Jaipur:
Chanwar Palkiwalon ki Haveli (Anokhi Haveli)
Kheri Gate, Amber, Jaipur
Tel:- 91 – 141 2530226 / 2531267

 

Museum Working Hours

  • Tuesday – Saturday : 10:30am – 5:00pm
  • Sunday : 11:00am – 4:30pm

Together with garments – Indian and Western in design – home textiles, sarongs and accessories, Anokhi offers a diverse and colourful selection of products in its 27 outlets in major cities of India. Anokhi doesn’t offer e-commerce.

Instagram @anokhijaipur

Facebook @AnokhiIndia

Here are some insights, with Ms. Rachel Bracken-Singh, the museum’s director:

Are there any festivals/events/Hand Printing workshops in the museum?

The museum offers regular works throughout the year. These are usually against request and range from individuals and small groups of enthusiasts to large school groups –from within India as well as visiting from abroad. School groups, college groups, design student groups – we tend to tweak the workshops to suit the particular need. While most workshops involve block printing we also offer block carving workshops. Throughout the day, the onsite printers and carvers demonstrate their skills and offer interactive sessions with visitors as they walk around.

 

What excites the visitors the most about your museum?

The response to the museum and what people enjoy most varies quite a bit. While most people love to try their own hand at block printing and also block carving, we find that there is a very clear appreciation for the overall quality of the experience from start to finish, in all the spaces at the museum. A great deal of attention has been given to clear and concise information and good visuals, and great care is taken in maintaining a high standard of care for the various striking and interesting textiles as well as tools, techniques, etc. The building is well worth a visit for that alone!! Visitors leave feeling that they have had a very positive, informative and satisfying and holistic experience.

 

How is the museum funded?

It is funded by Anokhi – we do not take outside financial support. The small shop there and museum publications go part way to supporting some of the costs.

 

What would you say to those looking forward to visit the museum?

Above all, I would recommend that any visitors coming to the museum should give as much time as they can to enjoy a complete experience – a full morning or an afternoon. The opportunity is there to fully absorb and appreciate one of India’s most beloved indigenous crafts,  set in a beautifully restored 16th century haveli. Interacting with the craftspeople and well-informed staff, and then enjoying a cup of desi chai in a traditional clay pot with a view of Amber’s enduring heritage is something to be savoured.

 

 

 

 


Join Nazariya at Sargaalaya as we rediscover our Artistic Heritage Together


Sargaalaya, the Kerala Arts and Crafts village in Kerala, is an initiative of the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala. It is an exclusive place where you can not only pick a product fashioned by the traditional artisans of Kerala but also learn one or two lessons in the subtleties of crafts-making. While designed as a tourist destination, Sargaalaya is also a platform for exhibition, sales, and craft-making. The tourist can have face-to-face interaction with the artisans showcasing their life-long achievements, and maybe learn a thing or two!

We, at Nazariya, focus on building a platform where you can not only purchase unique handmade products, but also discover the behind-the-scenes of who makes them, what their story is, and experience their journey in a way you could have never imagined before. Our aim is to provide a platform to the artisans and help them showcase their talents and handiwork to the masses. We also organize workshops to allow the people to gain better insight into how the artist’s mind works, what nuances go into making a single piece of craft, and help them learn a few basics themselves.

The core values of Sargaalaya and Nazariya are the same; revisiting art forms. The only difference is that we focus more on how to revive dying forms of art around the world. The thought is the same but the thinkers are different.

Given below are some art forms that Nazariya would be focusing on presenting at Sargaalaya International Arts and Craft Festival- 2016.

 

  1. Wood Carving

“Exquisite Wood Craft from Amer, Rajasthan. Available on our website.”

Wood carving is a form of woodworking done by a cutting tool (knife) in one hand or a chisel in two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, to make a wooden figure or figurines of deities, like Buddha and Ganesha. It originated in Rajasthan in the 17th century. Intricately carved wooden doors and windows in palaces and havelis are testimonies to its popularity in the medieval era. In fact, even today this craft is practised extensively in various parts of Rajasthan.

 

  1. Phad Painting

“Ethnic tribal royalty painting in Rajasthan.”

http://i0.wp.com/www.artnindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/img046.jpg?fit=995,1000

Phad painting is a style religious scroll painting and folk painting practised in Rajasthan, state of India. Phad painting is traditionally done on a large piece of cloth or Canvas known as Phad. The paintings are the life of two legendary Rajasthani heroes, Pabuji and Devnarayan ji, who are worshipped as the incarnation of lord Vishnu and Laxman. While the story is narrated using songs and dance, the visual impact is provided by the phad.

  1. Miniature Painting

“Radha and Krishna as depicted in a miniature painting.”

http://www.dollsofindia.com/images/products/miniature-paintings/miniature-painting-CU12_l.jpg

Miniature paintings are beautiful handmade paintings which are often vibrantly colored, but as the name suggests, very small in size. Also, very intricate and detailed work goes into making them, which further gives them a unique identity. The art of miniature painting was introduced in India by the Mughals, who brought this art form from Persia. Here, the themes mainly depicted are court scenes, gardens, forests, palaces, stories of Lord Krishna, love scenes, and battles.

   4. Puppetry

“Kathputlis in Rajasthan.”

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VQPlWd3eee8/UOcMCyTA8aI/AAAAAAAAUy0/qIhxNf7pDqQ/s1600/Kathputli Dance, Rajasthan.jpg

Puppetry has always held an important place in traditional entertainment. Like traditional theatre, themes for puppet theatre are mostly based on epics and legends. Puppets from different parts of the country have their own identity, and regional styles of painting and sculpture are reflected in them. Like the string puppets from Rajasthan are known as Kathputli, similarly string puppets of Orissa are known as Kundhei, and puppets from Tamil Nadu known as Bommalattam.

   5. Gond Art

“Tribal Gond art”

http://www.artribal.com/img/dummies/t3.jpg

Gond Art is a reflection of India’s largest Adivasi community called Gonds in Bhopal. It is the art of stories, the art of spirituality and is believed to bring good luck. The Gonds were storytellers who used to narrate the stories glorifying the king and this was the main source of their livelihood. The Gonds painted their walls with lively portrayals of local flora and fauna and gods and the art form is created by putting together dots and lines. Here the artists use colours developed by charcoal, plants sap, cow dung and leaves.

The passion and heart that the artisans put into creating these art forms are what distinguish them truly. Every art form has a deep history, a deeper soul, and this year at Sargaalaya International Art and Craft Festival, Nazariya is going to help voice their stories.

“Let’s live history together”


This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun.
By Ayesha Ibrahim
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A selection of traditional Baluchi dresses. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Pakistan is home to many amazing handiworks but the Balochi embroidery deserves a special mention. According to different sources the Balochi embroidery is regarded as an ancient handicraft that passes from one generation of women to the succeeding. The craft is native to the barren lands of Balochistan celebrating nomadic lifestyle.

Shezad Baloch, a journalist at the Express Tribune quotes Faheem Baloch, a lecturer at the University of Balochistan in a 2012 article, ‘most of the motifs and designs of Balochi embroidery have been inspired by nature, some of the patterns take inspiration from the pottery of the Mehrgarh civilization, one of the oldest civilizations of the world, which once existed in the Bolan district of Balochistan’.

This increases the importance that the craft holds as it points towards an intact cultural practice.

A traditional Balochi shalwar kameez. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

A traditional Balochi shalwar kameez. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The craft basically belongs to women as artisans and also as a wearer. It is said that Balochi women practice the embroidery every day to keep their skills polished. Although machine embroidery is also now available but handcrafted and customized shirts (kameez) hold more value.

The embroidery covers the front of the kameez, along-with the cuffs of the sleeves and shalwar (open trousers). Bright-colored threads, tiny mirrors, and stitching are part and parcel of the final product.

Different regions of Balochistan have their own distinct designs indicating relevance to a particular tribe. For instance, the Kalat district is known for its kalati embroidery, whereas, periwal, jalar, kapuk and naal are a product of Mekran division. Different types of stitches are used in the embroidery which are geometrically organized related to a location or may even relate to a woman’s current situation.

‘A mother who has lost her only son might refrain from using certain stitches in her embroidery, while a widow will be identified by the use of simple threads.’ (Humsheri.org, in a 2015 article). Common motifs used are arrows, chicken feet, diamonds and flowers.

Hand embroidery is not only famous nationally, but is revered in the Gulf countries. The most extravagant dresses are made for the brides; which can sell for as much as Rs 70,000 and could take several months to a year to complete. Simple everyday wear is quiet affordable to the extent that many believe the women responsible for producing such work of art are not being given their due share for the hard work.

References:

  • Baloch, S. (2012). Balochi ensembles: the threads of time. The Express Tribune, http://tribune.com.pk/story/354506/balochi-ensembles-the-threads-of-time/ retrieved 29th October 2016, 3:00pm.
  • Hum Shehri. 2015. Pashk. http://humshehri.org/culture/pashk/ retrieved 29th October 2016, 3:00pm.
  • Embroidery. Asia InCH Encylopedia. The Craft Revival Trust. UNESCO. http://www.craftrevival.org/CraftArtDetails.asp?CountryCode=Pakistan&CraftCode=003468  retrieved 29th October 2016, 3:00pm.

Content Research and Conceptualization by Kaavya Lakshman; Written by Ananya Maahir and Kaavya Lakshman

Sometimes it can be astonishing how generous nature has been while creating colours that they can be sourced from almost everywhere: white from rice flour, black from charcoal powder, yellow from turmeric powder, green from powdered green leaves, red from mixture of turmeric powder and lime and a combination from them can create something so beautiful that only the Gods could be associated with it. One such artform where these colours work wonders is Kalamezuthu.

image source: www.keralatourism.org

image source: www.keralatourism.org

As recorded on June 27, 2016 in The Hindu. “For many students of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kodunganoor, it was perhaps their first glimpse of how five colours sourced from nature could be used to create art. The students had gathered at the school on Saturday afternoon to watch Theeyattu, an art form native to Central Travancore, as part of a cultural outreach programme organised by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Thiruvananthapuram centre, and the Infosys Foundation, Bengaluru. The students watched as Theeyattu practitioners Vaikom Sasidhara Sarma, Sreejith Sarma, Sarath Sarma, Hari Krishnan, and Vijayan Varriar used the coloured powders to draw a large figure of Bhadrakali using their thumb and index finger in a ritual called Kalamezhuthu.”

image source: www. thiraseela.com

image source:  www.thiraseela.com

History

In Malayalam, the literal meaning of kalam is picture and ezhuthu is the act of drawing. It is also known as “dhulee chithram”, as the painting is made solely of powder. The powder used is extracted solely from natural products. Kalamezhuthu is a unique form of floor art that is predominately found in South Kerala. It is a ritual art, done mainly in temples as well as at the entrance and courtyard of homes as a symbol of welcoming the deities in the house. It is a harmonious blend of Tribal, Dravidian and Arian cultures. Its association with sacred groves and  tantric elements is a later addition. 

 

Legends

The legends are mainly associated with goddess Kali, who is the central depiction of the art. When the Asuras Dharukan and Dhanavendran underwent severe penance, they were granted the privilege by Lord Shiva that they wouldn’t be vanquished by any man and along with this, every drop of blood spilt on earth will give birth to hundreds of further Asuras. The grant of these wishes emboldened them and they created havoc in all the three worlds. When Lord Shiva got to know of this, he opened his third eye and created the fierce Kali who was an incarnation of Shakti, consort of Shiva. Kali being a woman could kill them, and when the blood spilt, she drank all of it before it touched the ground. Thus, she vanquished them all. Narada went to Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva, and recounted the victorious battle between Kali and the Asuras. While narrating, he drew a terrifying illustration of the events, thus giving birth to Kalamezhuthu.

image source: www.delhievents.com

image source: www.delhievents.com

Traditions

Ritualistic festivals in Kerala begin from the Malayalam month of and it continues through the harvest season, until the pre monsoon showers. Kalamezhuthu is a part of the worship of gods like Kali, Ayyappan and Vettakkorumakan. The artists are members of communities like Kurups, Theyyam padi Nambiars, Theeyadi Nambiars and Theeyadi Unnis. Traditionally, Kurups are in-charge of Kalamezhuthu. The Velichapad is a priest who is believed to be possessed by the divine spirit. He plays an important role in the Kalamezhuthu. On the day of the offering, the venue is set up by the Kurups by making the Koora (roof), for the Kalam (drawing) and Pattu (song). After this the Kalam is done, starting in the afternoon. The neighborhood is informed of the Kalamezhuthu by the Sandhya Pattu– song at dusk. The traditional musical instruments – ilathalam, veekkan chenda, kuzhal, kombul and chenda – are used in the performance. The Velichapad does the Kalampradhakshinam or Kala Pradaksinam– circling the Kalam with rhythmic steps in tune with the music. The Kurup does the Thiriuzhichal– removing the negative vibes with lighted wicks. After this the Velichapad does the Nalikarameru– throwing of coconuts. The song changes to Kalapattu or Kalam Pattu, a vibrant and mesmerizing song, to which the Velichapad does the Kalathylaattam dance. The grand finale is the most spectacular event of the evening. The priest does the Kalam Maykal– dance in a frenzy that simultaneously erases the Kalam. This denotes the Kalasam– end of the Kalamezhuthu.

image source: www.cyberkerala.com

image source: www.cyberkerala.com

 

Description of the painting

 The canvas of the artist is the floor and he usually makes use of only 5 colors. The scale of the painting ranges from 3-5 meters, making it neither miniature nor gigantic. The work is done with bare hands, without the use of tools. It takes more than two hours to finish the painting. The work starts from the centre and moves outwards. The design is either two dimensional or three dimensional. Above the kalam, decorations such as canopy of palm fronds, garlands of red hibiscus flowers and ocimum leaves (tulasi) are hung. Lighted ball metals are placed on the four corners of the drawing. The patterns of the painting vary depending on the occasion and not on the artist’s choice. It is interesting to note that the expression of the figures depict anger and intense emotions. The deities depicted in the art form are Goddess Bhadrakali, Lord Ayyappa, and the serpent god Naga Devata.

image source: www.thirasleela.com

image source: www.thirasleela.com

Organizations

 The Lalit Kala Akademi organises the Kamalezhuthu Festival that gives people a taste of the art form as well as the performance associated with it to highlight   the roots of fine arts and aesthetic sensibilities of Kerala.

Address : Lalit Kala Akademi, Rabindra Bhavan, 35, Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi-110001/ lka@lalitkala.gov.in

Telephone: 011 – 23009200

Fax: 011 – 23009292

Website: http://lalitkala.gov.in/

Information: Dr. Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty , Chairman, Lalit Kala Akademi / chairman@lalitkala.gov.in

Mr. Ramakrishna Vedala, Secretary, Lalit Kala Akademi / secretary@lalitkala.gov.in

 

 

 


This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun.
By Roshini Muralidhara

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The toys are made from ivory wood that is grown in old parts of the  Mysore region, and are exported worldwide. Photo credit: Pee Vee/Flickr

Karnataka is a land rich in art and history.  Many craft traditions in the state have been passed on from generations and this progression has helped support a variety of handicrafts. One such tradition that has gained immense popularity is the art of lacquerware toys in the town of Channapatna, a city located 60 kilometers southwest of Bengaluru, in the Ramnagara district.

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Channapatna toys  in their various forms. Photo credit: Sandip Bose/caleidoscope.in

This art’s origin can be traced back to the reign of Tipu Sultan who had summoned artisans from Persia to train the local craftsmen in the making of wooden toys. For over two decades, ivory wood  wood has been used prominently; occasionally rosewood, sandalwood, cedar, pine and teak are also utilized.

This traditional craft is protected as a geographical indication under the World Trade Organization, regulated by the government of Karnataka, and are featured in every major handicraft exhibition in India.

During her January 2015 visit to India, First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, was so impressed by these toys that now they adorn the shelves of the White House!

The first cultural tableau at the 66th Repulic Day parade at Rajpath was from Karnataka. Photo credit: Screengrab

The first cultural tableau at the 66th Repulic Day parade at Rajpath was from Karnataka. Photo credit: Screengrab

Owing to the popularity of these toys, Channapatna is known as ‘Gombegala Ooru’ (Toy Town or Land of Toys) of Karnataka.

Wood for the process is acquired from the local tree of Aale-Mara (Wrightia tinctoria). Artisans follow the traditional method of handicraft which involves lacquering.The initial step of the toy making process is procuring wood from the local markets.

channapatna toys

The various chisels used in the toy making. Photo credit: Sandip Bose/caleidoscope.in

The wooden planks are seasoned for two to three months based on their size. Then, they are mounted on a lathe machine and are cut into various shapes using different types of chisels.

Once the required shapes are achieved, they are rubbed with sand paper for smoothening and then are pressed with a lacquer stick, for the eventual gleam. The toys are then pruned, carved and coloured using vegetable dyes. Finally, the product is given a polish.

These toys manufactured using fine quality seasoned wood, vegetable dyes and smooth edges are known to be one of the safest.

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Artisans chisel out the toys for that smooth finish. Photo credit: Sandip Bose/caleidoscope.in

The toy making industry is  majorly a small-scale industry. Even though the state government has established large-scale lacquerware craft complexes with training institutes, local skilled artisans have studios in their homes. Even though this industry earlier faced a stiff competition from Chinese toy makers, it is back in demand with export ordrs from Europe and America,.

These local artisans are benefited by a number of non-governmental organizations and private companies such as Microsoft (India) who provide them with designs that are contemporary and have global standards to produce world-class toys.

Though these skilled workers do not make a lot of money in the process, their knowledge of the craft and job satisfaction was pretty apparent when I visited one such workshop.

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The end product of the industry is a variety of wooden toys ranging from dolls to spinning tops (called Buguri locally), trains, bullock-carts, small vintage cars, mathematical games, puzzles etc.. Photo credit: Hari Prasad Nadig via Flickr


Author: Seemab Alam

The art of stories, the art of spirituality and an art believed to bring good luck, Gond Art is the reflection of India’s largest adivasi community called Gonds who are of Dravidian origin and can be traced to the pre-Aryan era. The word Gond is derived from the word kond which means green mountains. The Gonds are a diverse group spreading over large areas from the Godavari valleys in the south to the Vindhya Mountains in the north. Also in Madhya Pradesh, they are settled in the dense forests of the Vindhyas, Satpura and Mandla in the Narmada region of the Amarkantak range for centuries.

The Gonds are traditionally believed to be storytellers, the Pradhan Gonds used to narrate the stories glorifying the king and this was mainly the source of their livelihood. While with the emergence of British, their downfall began. But it was during early 1980’s when Gond Art found its way back.

The Gond cultural tradition captures different aspects of Gond life- their deities, dance customs, bond with nature, myths, sagas and wisdom. In the early days the Gonds painted their walls with lively portrayals of local flora and fauna and gods. The mystical art form is created by putting together dots and lines and the artists used colours developed by charcoal, plants sap, cow dung and leaves in the early days, today mostly acrylic are used. Most of the paintings when perceived carefully impart a sense of movement to the still images.

While all these paintings are a tribute to nature, the Gonds belief upon the supernatural power is rather interesting. When interviewed Padmaja Srivastava (founder of the organisation-Gond Tribal Art) she says “It’s interesting to know that the Gonds do not believe in idol worship. While they stongly believe in Ramaini which is the mixture of Ramayan and Mahabharat.”

Also she talks about the same very passionately, quoting “I believe that Gond Art is a contemporary art. From paintings on the mud walls to paintings on the canvases, this art relates to many superstitions and belief. Every piece of art they paint portrays a story or a belief. They say these paintings bring good luck for them and protect them from evil spirits.”


BANA PAINTING

Image Source:- http://folkpaintingsindia.com/all-art/gond-art/bana.html

The above Gond Art is a creation by Mansingh Vyam, a Gond artist. This is a painting of the Bana which is also regarded as Bada Dev by the Gondi. Bada Dev (Great God) is invoked under a Saja tree by a Gond Pardhan.The Pardhans being the musicians, story-tellers, and genealogists of the Gonds, invokes Bada Dev by sitting under a Saja tree and playing a musical instrument called Bana. On listening to the melodious sound of the Bana, and the song sung by the Pardhan, Bada Dev awakens from his slumber and comes down the Saja tree. As very well illustrated in the painting.

Isn’t it beautiful to fancy how Gond art from paintings on the mud walls became so alluring on the canvases? Well, it was Jangarh Singh Shyam who first offered this art on the canvases using poster colours in the 1980’s and since then Gond Art has never looked back but only developed.

The entire concept of being rooted to the culture of their ancestors and believing in the ideology their forefathers believed, strengthens the Gond culture in an incredible way.

The exquisiteness of their culture and tales shall forever be cherished. The illusions of their art shall forever be hailed.


Author: Dr. Gautam Chatterjee

From urbanites view point art is viewed as a secluded activities of people and vision is from the standpont of Gallery de art. But for indigenous people like Naga, art and culture are inseparable from their daily milieu. And their art is functional within their ambience. In order to research and depict the Naga life Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts(IGNCA) has recreated their life through Milada Ganguli’s rare collection of Naga Art at Mati Ghar IGNCA which can be seen from Monday the 6th October, 1997.

Image Source: http://www.ibiblio.org/gautam/heri0006.htm

Image Source: http://www.ibiblio.org/gautam/heri0006.htm

Milada Ganguli, 90 year old , a connoisure of Indian art is the connection between the past and present. A native of Czechoslovakia, came to India way back in l939 after her marriage to Mohonlal Ganguli, a writer and a close relative of Rabindranath Tagore. She developed a special interest in the hills of North-East India and was specially attracted towards Naga culture. She has visited these people around 18 times and collected artefacets of rare kind. Today, one part of her collection is the holding of National Museum, Calcutta and second part has come to the IGNCA which are being displayed at theexposition titled “SUNGKONG”–call of the Log Drum.

The exhibition is studded with rare artefacets and photographs placed within the context of beautifully created panorama of Naga life ,the aura of bamboo and grass work interplayed with symbolic motifs of tiger,lion,cross-bow to the votary symbol of potency.

The exposition revolves around the theme of ‘Sonakong’ or the call of Log drum of Naga people. Symbolically it reflects the major part of the extinct Naga Art forms which are no objective articulation of aesthetics but a display of functional art of bygone era. The entrance is the roof of the Morung or dormitary which is decorated with long tassels of thatching grass. Then one walks over the dried grass reaching out to the Morung. This Morung is the epic centre of the Naga life. Here youth and elders meet to share their oral traditions,heritage and functions as a platform of folk cultural demonstration. At night this is the watch post to keep a watch over the enemies. Then comes the unique log drum which is another functional symbolism of this tribe. The interrelatedness of Morung–the dormitary and use of Log drum for community communications is the high point of this exposition. Dr. Malla, Art Historian coordinating the exhibition explained that….

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