HOW NA­TURE NURTURES CRAFT

India Today - - LEISURE - —Moeena Halim

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

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