If art exists in the heart of culture, then crafts exist in the soul of every culture in the world.
If art exists in the heart of culture, then crafts exist in the soul of every culture in the world. India has a diverse history of potters and weavers but we seem to have forgotten it as time went along its merry way. So in order to not just revive but revitalise craft in the country, the five-day-long India Craft Week recently took place in the capital. In what is its second edition, it showcased over 150 established and emerging artists including Padma Shri and National Award-winning artists, renowned designers, contemporary brands, brand figureheads, thought leaders and critics.
Iti Tyagi, founder and a Nari Shakti Puraskar awardee, was always passionate about India’s rich heritage and culture. “The main focus (of the exhibition) was on strengthening the purchase of traditional art and crafts, bringing together craftspeople and contemporary makers on a single creative platform while allowing them to absorb our rich heritage. It is a true celebration of exceptional craftsmanship,” she explains.
Rogan is a style of cloth printing from Kutch, Gujarat, popularly used for paintings and saree-making. Jabbar Khatri, a Rogan artist, has exhibited and conducted workshops around India and says that the event was one of the best platforms he was given to promote his work. He further explains, “The experience was very good with all students and other members. One of the proud moment for me and my family was when I was chosen as Craft Designer of the year by International Craft Awards (a part of the India Craft Week) from applicants of over 20 countries.”
Rajesh Arya, an artist specialising in dhokra — an art form involving non-ferrous metal casting — says, “We were able to show our crafts to a large audience, which we couldn’t do in our state. I must say, the platform which was given to us was very useful. We got great exposure and made many contacts from India and other parts
of the world.”