Home States Tamilnadu 100 artisans showcased their products in Chennai’s craft bazaar

100 artisans showcased their products in Chennai’s craft bazaar

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(G.N.S) Dt. 08
Chennai
Life reflected in art
The Gond tribal community believes that viewing good art brings good luck. Artist Gariba Singh Tekham, who was inspired and mentored by renowned Gond artist Jangarh Singh Shyam, has a multitude of quirky, colourful and imaginative canvases at the show. His wife, Premi Bai Tekham, also an artist, discusses their work saying, “It is an ancient art. For many generations, we painted on the walls for auspicious occasions and festivals, then we started adapting it on to paper and marketing our art.”
A women says almost 250 inhabitants of her village practise this art and each artist has a distinctive style. “Gond art is personal, it is part of our lifestyle, and portrays the evolution of life,” she says, adding “The paintings usually depict Nature, birds and animals. Black, red, gold, yellow, white and green are the five colours used. Though we used natural colours earlier, today we use acrylic,” she says. With these five colours, these Gond artists create vibrant canvases using dots and lines.
Coconut earrings
Deck yourself up in coconuts. M Liyakathalikhan’s creations, made from the shells, are fascinating. They include a wide range of ear tops, pendants and hair clips, in addition to more utilitarian products like card holders and cups.
The artisan was selected to attend the Santa Fe International Folk Art festival a few years ago. He says he has developed over 10,000 designs on his own for his products. Stating that no chemicals are used in the process, he adds that the glossy finish is achieved by rubbing it patiently with sandpaper.
When Liyakathalikhan created a product out of coconut shells for his son’s school project, he got interested in the art. Even as he was sustaining himself by driving an autorickshaw, he simultaneously spent close to eight years researching coconut shell products before he launched his venture.
Magical mashru
Today, there are only three families that can weave mashru, according to Vankar Babubhai Ratanshi from Bhujodi, Kutch. He says that there are different looms to weave each pattern in mashru, such as seven pedal, 11 pedal or 21 pedal. “It is a diminishing art, and it takes one day to weave three metres. While the top is made with silk, the inner side has cotton, and this is the most unique aspect of this weaving,” he adds. Ratanshi has developed 20 natural dye colours. He says his grandfather was a master weaver who supplied mashru for turbans to royal families. He has four types of mashru yardage, as well as dupattas made from kala cotton.
Living green
Selina Wangchuk Lepcha runs a self-help group in Manipur, with 10 women, to create eco-friendly, hand-crafted products with kauna (water reed) grass. On her maiden visit to Chennai, she’s selling yoga mats, shopping baskets and hand bags, among others.
She says that the kauna reed is specific to Manipur, where it grows in marshes and wetlands. It is available in plenty and harvested thrice a year. “The most popular products we have are our kauna reed floor mats and camper baskets. The mats are woven by interlacing the stalks with jute threads using basic tools,” says Lepcha. These products are non-toxic and perfect if you’re planning on being greener this year.
Bhujodi beckons
Artisan weaver Dayalal Kudecha says Bhujodi weaving is the pride of Kutch. He says that he experiments with design, yet stays closer to tradition. He uses both natural dyes as well as eco-friendly chemical dyes for his products. Traditionally, orange, green, red and indigo are the colours he uses.
Extra weft is typical of weaving from his region, and this technique is used to create traditional motifs such as the chomakh and dhogola (star and diamond). There are also patterns along the border with this style.
Dayabhai says he attended an international weavers’ conference in Peru in 2013, and Santa Fe International Folk Art Market the following year. He is also a recipient of the UNESCO Excellence Award.

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