HOW NATURE NURTURES CRAFT
Over the past six months, Brijeshwari Kumari Gohil and Vaishnavi Ramanathan of the Piramal Art Foundation have been travelling across rural India. Their aim has been to cover the country’s five landscapes—mountainous, pastoral, riverine, coastal and desert—to meet craftsmen of the regions, learn about their lifestyle, study quotidian problems that plague the artists and ascertain why their crafts are dying out. Launching on May 26 at Mumbai’s Piramal Museum of Art, the Nature to Culture exhibition curated by Gohil and Ramanathan reflects the best of their findings and focuses on seven crafts including Cherial paintings from Telangana, Roghan from Gujarat, Namda from Kashmir and Manjusha from Bihar.
Many handicraft industries have been affected by a lack of demand, the inaccessibility of relevant markets or disinterest from the younger generation; but what the curators found interesting was also how the degradation of the environment and the changing landscape have affected the craftsmen. On for three months, the exhibition looks at why the seven crafts have survived, disappeared or taken on new forms due to changes in the local ecology. In Assam’s Goalpara village, for instance, until about 30 years ago most of the families would collect raw material to make shitalpati mats from the nearby forests. New laws coupled with the razing of trees has meant that the craftsmen can no longer access the murta plants in the forest.
NATURE THE CULTURE TO at exhibition Museum Piramal Mumbai, of Art, on launched May 26