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Artisans

  • Artisans’ Day to be Observed on March 5

    As part of its consolidated plan to revive the Indian craft industry, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to observe March 5 as Artisans’ Day. A fund of Rupees 35 lakh has been earmarked for the occasion which will see an exhibition of handmade products throughout the state. This exhibition, called the Craft Bazaar will be inaugurated by Minister for Rural Industries, Thiru P. Benjamin on 24th February with a display cum sale of authentic Indian handlooms, handicrafts, textiles, jewelry, paintings etc to create awareness among the general public about the revival of the Indian handicraft industry. The exhibition will culminate in an award ceremony on 8th March wherein prizes will be distributed to the best among 2 lakh artisans currently in the state. The occasion will be graced by the Honourable CM of Tamil Nadu, Mr. E. Palaniswami.

    Poompuhar Artisans DayPoompuhar Artisans Day MarchRecently, the government through its handicraft wing, Poompuhar, established an e-repository for artisans. The e-repository is one of a kind online directory for artisans to register themselves along with their specialties, socioeconomic profiles and images/videos of their products. This innovative initiative was taken with the aim of bringing artisans to the forefront and providing a platform for them to be directly accessible to the public. A fund of Rupees 1 crore from the State Innovation Fund was allocated to this cause.

    Portal for ArtisansPoompuhar has been continuously exploring innovative avenues to promote Indian handicrafts, such as installing a 3D printing installation at the Design Research and Development Centre in Chennai, and a Craft Cafe which serves healthy, home-like meals in a cafe generously adorned with select Poompuhar idols and statues.

  • The State of The Indian Craft Industry

    The crafts sector of India’s economy employs over twenty million people, and it is second after the agriculture sector. Handicrafts, rightly described as the craft of the people, are a major source of income and employment for the people of India. The handicrafts sector is a home-based industry. This kind of work does not require extensive investment, training or machinery for production to begin.

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    Craftsmen typically use ingenuity and raw materials existing within their surroundings to produce ornaments, fabrics or ceramics that can be sold. Many pastoral and agricultural communities within the country rely on traditional craft skills as a source of backup income in times of poor crop yields, famine, lean harvests or drought. Such traditional skills, handed down for generations, also constitute a vital source of income for women and are often the only way that communities can survive natural disasters.

    All these facts prove that the Indian craft industry vital component of the nation's economy, but though they are accurate, it is also true that the craft industry is in a state of decline. With the most recent evidence of this being the plight of the potters and sculptors of Bengaluru, considered by many to be the heart of pottery in India.

    The potters and sculptors worry that they could soon lose pottery town due to a decline in the market, and a scarcity of raw materials. This concern is well founded, the world today is one characterised by mass production, and economies of scale have resulted in a dramatic decline in price. New materials have further changed the industry, mass-produced products are stronger and more durable than natural ceramics. This is an unfortunate truth that we all must deal with.

    On a more positive note, there are still opportunities that craftspeople such as the potters and sculptors of pottery town can exploit to sustain their trade. Handcrafted wares are not cheap. Consider this, if there is even a little demand for a handcrafted product, why would it be cheaply priced.  Since it is unique and one of a kind, consumers should buy it at a higher price. Craftspeople should take advantage of current developments in internet marketing to explore the new market. Web-based artisan stores such as the E-repository launched by Poompuhar could provide much-needed exposure for handicraft makers.

    Though technology has caused some of the Indian handicraft industry's problems, it has also created many opportunities that should be exploited to ensure that it remains vibrant and profitable.

  • Benefits of joining an E-Repository for the Artist

    Promoting art in this era, can be a little challenging for any individual. The average person is normally too occupied with the hustle and bustle of life to find the time for anything but a little rest and relaxation after a hard day's work. As a result, only the truly passionate can make the time to actually visit an exhibition. Coupled with stiff competition, it becomes really hard for the individual artist to make ends meet.

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    Fortunately, advertising strategies for art have grown rapidly in the last few decades, and today, the internet is the newest and most popular avenue for the selling and auction of art. For art lovers, it may simply be a quick and convenient way to spend money on a piece of art but for the modern artist, it is a truly exciting development.

    Why?You ask!! Because it opens a vast and insatiable market.

    Modern art consumers and enthusiasts typically prefer electronic repositories because they have the opportunity to inspect a much greater number of art pieces at their own pace, all this can’t be done in traditional art galleries which can display only a limited number pieces and can operate for limited time of day. This level of discretion also comes with its own advantages such as –there is less exposure for the sellers and buyers, the price remains a secret, and there is hardly any chance that the auction could fail.

    For emerging artists, the repository provides an opportunity to connect with loyal clients. A web gallery that has worked tirelessly to build a proper listing of artists definitely has the market for their work. Such a repository could also convince collectors to purchase the works of new artists.

    Endorsement by a reputable gallery that has nation-wide coverage is a vital step for any artist interested in building a professional career. The art world is a highly competitive environment where the individual with the most exposure has a greater advantage over others in the same field. Representation by an established web-based repository is an important prerequisite for artists seeking to connect with potential buyers.

    Online galleries are typically used by collectors with large budgets. These individuals are usually willing to pay large sums of money for good art. What this means for the artist is that the value of their work could increase dramatically in an instant. This doesn’t mean that the work was less valuable before, just that its perceived value has increased.

  • The Delicate art of Khatambandhi

    Kashmir has always been known for its scenic beauty and amazing handicrafts. Khatambandh is one such traditional Kashmiri art of creating decorative ceiling, by fitting together small polygonalwood pieces in exquisite geometrical patterns. Khatambandhi was brought to Kashmir by famous saint Shah eHamdaan who was believed to have visited the Himalayan valley along with some Persian Khatamband artists around 14th century. These artists passed on this exemplary art to the residents of a small town in south of Kashmir and since then the art flourished throughout the state.

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    Khatambandhi is a painstaking art of conjugating pieces of wood elegantly that take seven months to finish a 10 feet by 10 feet ceiling. A 100 sq. feet ceiling of an ordinary design requires a minimum of four craftsmen to work on it. The wood is cut into small panels by one, marked by another,carved into various shapes by the third and finally woven in geometrical patterns by the fourth artist. Then there is a master carpenter who carefully install these designs onto the ceiling. The wood employed is usually walnut,deodar or fir which is artistically processed, cut into buttons and panels and fixed in the ceiling in various beautiful floral and geometrical designs.The two main elements, which form a Khatambandh is the beading, also known as Gaj-Patti and the other one is the polygon called Posh (Flower). All this is done manually without using glue or nails. The beauty of this art is that when the ceiling is complete it acquires a captivating unique seamless geometrical pattern. The seamless ceiling creates a dynamic illusion with shapes morphing into each other, almost like watching a sky full of twinkling stars.Another interesting point of this artwork is that the Khatambandh ceiling can easily be dissembled and re-assembled at another place.

    During earlier days Khatambandh design used to be a part of shrines, houseboats, royal and historic palaces but now it is demanded by many houses inside and outside Kashmir.The splendid geometrical Khatambandh ceiling is now in great demand overseas in countries like Australia, USA and Europe.

  • Famous Forts of India

    India is a land of rich cultural history and architecture. To experience it one must see the majestic palaces and forts built by royal kingdoms of India. Forts were built to guard off enemies in the past. Whole of India is dotted with breathtaking forts of different sizes and types. Everything in a fort, from window to porch to bastion to courtyard and even the outer wall recounts some historic tale. Constructed with an extreme sense of finesse and ability, one cannot stop falling in love with these outstanding pieces of architecture that India feel so proud of. Here is a list of few popular and marvelous forts of India:

    1. Mehragarh Fort, Jodhpur

    An elevated platform and thick boundaries make the Mehragarh Fort of Jodhpur as one of the largest forts in India. The magnificent fort has 7 huge gates, one of which still has a distinct cannonball imprint that signifies the wars of the past. Inside, lies a big museum which documents the rich history of the rulers of that time which is exhibited mainly in the form of paintings, dresses, ammunition etc.

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    1. Red Fort ,Delhi

    Red Fort (or Lal Quila) is an apex of Mughal art and the most popular monument in the capital city of India. It is situated on the banks of river Yamuna and was built by Shahjahan.  Carved with only red sandstones, red fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most well preserved and massive forts of India. The fort reflects Islamic sense of architecture with splendid Persian motifs and carvings.

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    1. Gwalior Fort, Madhya Pradesh

    Gwalior fort is known to be ruled by 110 rulers of different dynasties. Gwalior fort is believed to have witnessed some great historical events where Tantya Tope fought with the British army and Rani Lakshmi Bai took her last breath. The dramatic Jain sculptures, ceramic tiles, attractive motifs and intricate lattice work make the Gwalior fort a very unique monument of India.

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    1. Amer Fort

    Amer Fort is located in Amer which falls between Delhi and Rajasthan and is therefore known as Gateway to Rajasthan. This huge fort is built on top of Cheel ka Teela (Eagle’s hill) amongst Aravali hill range and is never known to be conquered by any ruler. The major attractions of Amer Fort are Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-e-Aam, the Summer Residence and Sila Mata Temple. The intricately carved and beautifully painted palaces inside the fort, gardens, rooms and terraces reflect the rich culture of India and artisan’s hard work. Built by Raja Man Singh, Amer fort represents a distinct blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture.

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    1. Golconda Fort, Hyderabad

    Golconda was basically a mine from which precious gemstones of the world were believed to be mined. The fort reflects the richest histories and traditions of India. The unique domes, entrances, pillars of fort are surrounded by 10 kilometer long boundary wall. The fort renders an acoustic affect where a clap at the entrance of The Fateh Darwaza can be heard a kilometer away at Bala Hisar pavilion.

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    1. Red fort, Agra

    The huge Agra fort was built by Mughal emperor Akbar in 15th century. Agra Fort is spread over an area of about 94 acres and has believed to witness a number of Indian wars and battles. Diwan e khas, diwan e aam, khas mahal, shish mahal, and an octagonal burj are some of the most aesthetically designed complexes inside Red fort. It is believed that Shahjahan died in the marvelous balcony of the octagonal burj only, when he was held captive by his son Aurangzeb.

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    1. Chittoragarh fort, Rajasthan

    Chittoragarh fort of Rajasthan is a World Heritage Site and is located 175 kilometers east of Udaipur. The fort has two uniquely designed pillars, the Kirti Stambh and the Vijay Stambh, reflecting the ultimate art and finesse of the artisan. With about twenty pools, nineteen temples and four palaces, Chittoragarh fort leaves you spell bound by its unique architectural beauty.

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  • Will Make in India be the Knight in Shining Armour for Artisans in India?

    India has always been known for its culture, art and craft. For such a culturally rich country, it is a shame that most of the beautiful crafts are being lost. This is mainly due to the fact that companies from other parts of the world are making many such products through machinery and it is cheaper than the Indian made crafts. However, to counter this, the Indian Government has launched the ‘Make in India’ programme, which is an ambitious nation building initiative to promote more multinational companies to invest their resources to supplement manufacturing in India itself. Many small and large scale art setups will also benefit from the support of this programme.

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    In India, there are over 2500+ crafts and around a million able craftsmen who can use this movement. India being culturally rich has arts and crafts which have been honed for centuries through tradition and these improvisations can easily be used to create many ‘Make in India’ opportunities for not only the urban youth of the country, but even the rural poor people.

    Over the past few years, there has been a regenerated interest in the hand-made and natural things throughout the world. And now with the Make in India initiative and resources available to us, we need to work on re-energizing our efforts, our culture and heritage –something that has been passed on to us from generations and forms a part of us.

    Just like in the Indian IT sector, we need to use modern management techniques and global work culture for creating an environment of Swachh Bharat in the villages and other places like factories and offices of all these arts and crafts which will in turn lead to more turnout of the youths who will want to work in these offices and such work friendly environments instead of going to work as watchmen or other small posts in the big cities.

    We can also use HR experts of various big universities and request them to work with the lower level gram panchayats to develop a modern structure for the community at large. This, we believe, will lead the youth to get more appreciation for their hard work and they will come up with new ideas and start taking pride in their work.

    All these efforts however will fail and come to nothing if we are unable to sell the goods created and generate a steady revenue for these newly formed companies. Hence, investment is required to create world class retail strategies and structures. The government needs to help bridge the gap between the requirements of human resources, financial resources, infrastructure and marketing to really make it work. Make in India can work, we just need to go about it the proper way.

  • THE DYING ART OF CHERIYAL SCROLLS

    Cheriyal is quiet village nearly a 100 odd kilometres from Hyderabad in the Warangal district of Telangana. This village with approximately 2000 residents and 600 plus houses is nothing different from any other village in any other part of India, until you visit the 4 households that have kept the dying art of Cheriyal scrolls alive today.

    The Cheriyal scrolls were renowned across India and the world for their unlettered form of story-telling. In fact these scrolls find mention in A Catalogue of the British Museum.Today this traditional art form has become limited only the village of Cheriyal.

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    The canvas scrolls are made on Khadi and are hand painted with unique colours made from natural sources. There are a few characteristics that make the Cheriyal scrolls and paintings instantly recognizable such as the predominance of the colour Red in the background and the iconology of placing prominent figures in appropriate order. These scrolls are painted in a narrative format like comic strips or a film roll depicting scenes from Indian mythology like Krishna Leela, Ramayan, Mahabharatha among other folklore from the region.

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    Tradition has it that these scrolls were used for educating the unlettered villagers and kept the local populace entertained at that time. The village poet or artist would use these scrolls as visual aid to tell people of these stories. Today, with the advent of TV, internet and magazines these scrolls have become a dying art and is just confined to the Cheriyal village. The artists have been forced to adapt and nowadays they paint smaller versions of the scrolls, sometimes limited to just one panel to depict single episodes from the stories.

    Another craft from Cheriyal that has continued to linger and survive is the contemporary Cheriyal dolls. These dolls are made of wood, sawdust and tamarind paste while the masks are made from dried coconut shells.

    Today, the government is doing all things possible to keep this tradition alive and theseCheriyal scrolls are regularly showcased in government run handicraft stores. While the Cheriyal scroll painting received Intellectual Property Rights Protection or Geographical Indication (GI) status in 2007, the families involved in this art form are anything but rich and now rely on education to equip their children for a better future.

    One such family is the husband-wife duo of Vanaja and Ganesh. Both Vanaja and Ganesh are government recognized artists and have made murals for the visit of dignitaries including that of President Pranab Mukherjee’s to Nagpur. They also travel to various locations across the country conducting workshops on Cheriyal scrolls for various state governments and helping spread awareness about this dying art form. The couple run a Cheriyal painting workshop for teaching the basic techniques of scroll making to the neighbourhood children with which they hope they can revive this dying art.

    There are many such artists in Tamil Nadu too who are keeping their culture and art alive, read about them here at: http://www.tnartisaan.com/

  • Famous Indian painters who got international credit

    India is a land of arts. This is the country that has given birth to fantastic artists for years, generation after generation. Many claim that all those things were past and historic. However, in present day also, there are different artists in India, who have established themselves in the International world of art. Here are the top five such Indian artists:

    M F Hussain

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    He is a famous painter in India, also known as ‘Indian Picasso’. He is the most celebrated and internationally renowned artists of all times. Renowned in India, this artist gave birth to lots of the exclusive art, some of which has got recognition in the international platform too. his paintings are mostly narrative, with diverse themes. 

    SH Raza

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    Renowned old painter of India, S Raza has made a record to earn 16 crore for a single painting. Some of the top paintingsof his are in the form of Saurastra and La Terre. Most of his paintings were on lightening Indian philosophy in the abstract form in oil or acrylic. His talent was not confined to the country alone. Soon it spread to a broader horizon, making him an internationally famous painter.

    F N Souza

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    The famous painter is recognized by the world for his extraordinary pieces of work. Nearly 400 paintings by him were sold in the world market, among which the famous Birth image is the brightest star. It was sold at 11 crores in International market. The painter created a different generation among all the painters, with his live works. The great painter died in the year of 2002.

    Tyeb Mehta

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    A Padma Bhushan recipient,Tyeb Mehta hailed from the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group, which included F.N. Souza, S.H. Raza and M.F. Husain. Like them, he also embraced the modern and brusque style of painting. Some of the top works of him includethe Diagonal Series and triptych Celebration. The latter one earned him 14 crore INR.

    Ganesh Pyne

    He is another artist of International fame. His works like Assassin or Before the Chariots are some of the landmark creations from this artist. Most of his works were based on the light and darkness of life, created keeping the riot phase in mind.

    VS Gaitonde

    Gaitonde is a renowned painter of India, famous in all parts of the world. Each of his work shows the control he has on his paint brush. He was an epitome of the meditative Zen quality and this is reflected in his paintings as well.In fact, some artists regard him to be the best in the modern context of art and painting in modern India.

  • History of Tamil Nadu Handicrafts

    Tamil Nadu, one of the biggest states of South India has an enchanting cultural as well as traditional history that makes the state more diversified and interesting to talk about. Most popular art amongst all, known as Poompuhar brings to life lost and rare handicrafts of Tamil Nadu. The beauty and creativity of the handicrafts of Tamil Nadu keep you engrossed.

    The different handicrafts depicting the culture and traditions of the state add elegance and beauty to not only Tamil Nadu people, but also people all around the world. The different handicrafts of Tamil Nadu Include Paintings of Tanjore, Jewelry, Pottery, woodcraft, Stone carving and textiles.

    Thanjavur-Painting-Krishnan

    The best thing about the paintings of Tanjore is their mesmerizing beauty and most significant art that gets depicted in them. They are made on wood, mica and walls that make these painting more beautiful and profound. The Jewelry is another most important attraction of the handicraft of the state made of beautiful stones. They make the most beautiful ornaments that embellish the beauty of several people and are loved by all.

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    The love for the handicraft of Tamil Nadu is because of the quality, the authenticity and the diversification in designs the art engrosses. The paintings, mainly Tanjore Gold leaf paintings feature Hindu Gods and Goddesses and their stories. You can find the best Gold leaf paintings in Chennai where you will find authenticity. Since beauty is to be appreciated and art isn’t easily available, one should cherish the culture depicted in art and craft that makes the art as well as culture more appreciable.

    The woodcraft of the state is most commonly used to make the beautiful fiber products that exported abroad. Palm grasses and bamboo are used to make the authentic woodcrafts that add value to the culture as well as to the authenticity and glory of the country. Stone carving is also an irreplaceable art when it comes to Tamil Nadu, the best of which is Granite carving. The crafts of the Musical instrument cannot be ignored. The enticing beauty of art and culture gives the best blend of what comes out to be marvelous. Thanjavur, the hometown of many musicians is the major hub of musical instruments. The beautiful carvings make them wonderful.

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    The art is to be cherished and to be loved by all. The beautiful handicraft is to be explored and hence one can add divine art and beauty to their lives by giving these handicrafts a place in your houses so that it becomes more prevalent and known by all. They belong to the place where creativity and skill is the cast of beauty. The subtle beauty of Tamil Nadu is depicted through these beautiful and mesmerizing handicrafts only and has been endeavoring since ages to provide the best and diversified designs and miracle that can be done through human hands. The state and its beautiful handicrafts also glorify the country as it exposes the rich culture through the handicrafts and make India popularly known worldwide.

  • Making of Stone Idols

    Stone idols are the statues that are made to depict God. The three dimensional statue is created by artisans and is given the shape and structure of our deities and hence are called Stone Idols. The stone sculptures are more effective than metal ones and are widely accepted all over India. We Indians worship God in many ways. Some keep the pictures, while others keep statues. So the making of statues dates back to centuries ago when it was done only to depict art.

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    The stone idols look beautiful and they make you feel like the God is really standing in front of you, talking to you. They make your temple lively and you buy stone idols for many purposes like Navratri, Diwali pujan and many more. When we go to any temple and we see the sculptures made of stone, you cannot question the fact that they are just stones. This is actually god’s way of presenting himself on Earth. The sculpture has power and we worship them. Therefore, in India, we have a great history about the stone idols and everyone keeps such idols at home, no matter you worship Lord Krishna, Rama or Shiva.

    People worship Gods through prayers, chants, songs and rituals and they think that it is heard by the God in the form they worship. These stone sculptures have their own worth and they are:

    Iconic Representation

    People believe that God is in front of them in those Stone idols and it is their way of believing it. It may or may not be true but personal satisfaction is a must, and hence they like it that way.

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    Symbol of Peace

    They believe that keeping stone idols at their house will get the house the peace it wants and the people of the family will always be in prosperity.

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    Therefore, keeping the stone idols is a must have at your house. It brings you peace and prosperity. Also, they look beautiful and they depict the mythological history of India. They depict that India had a rich culture that always respected women. The art that is involved in making these stone idols is also commendable. These artists are a boon to the country that makes sculptures looking like real beings.

    These stone idols were even created centuries ago and it is just the tradition which is being followed. The artists also used clay to make the idols but the largest number of idols that are sold in the market is made of stones. They glorify your house and make the house look beautiful and traditional. Buy the stone idols from Poompuhar and enjoy the peace and let no one come between the way of you and your deity. Get lost in the world of worship and take a step towards wisdom. Poompuhar stone idols are one of the best kind and the artists who make these idols are also fabulous. They use their art to depict Gods and Goddesses in stone sculptures.

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