A few weeks back I was invited to visit a workshop. Organized by Mitti at Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Architecture in Navi Mumbai, it offered me a good opportunity to interact personally with various artists involved in indigenous arts and crafts.
Mitti is an initiative to nurture and promote Indian handicraft and the cause of the artisans. It is an initiative that takes you back to your unique cultural roots in the face of an all-pervading globally homogeneous cultural identity . With this vision, Mitti organises workshops cum exhibitions where artisans come from various regions of the country and demonstrate the technique of their craft to students of architecture and design studies.
In these 4 to 5 days long workshops, the younger urban generation is introduced to various folk art and craft forms of India such as Paper Mache from Kashmir, Dhokra from Bastar, Cherial mask making from Telengana, Lippan kaam from Kutch, handloom weaving from Bhujodi, Gujarat, Madhubani painting from Bihar, Gond painting from Madhya Pradesh, Warli from Maharshtra, Patachitra and Pattachitra from West Bengal and Odhisha respectively, wood craft from West Bengal, Hariyana and Rajasthan, Loha kaam from Chattisgadh.
Mitti endeavours to create a platform of cultural melange between the creators and the appreciators. It is edutaining as it imparts knowledge about the Indian art and crafts as well as creates awareness and respect for the hard work, precision, passion, concentration, patience and dedication that go behind these creations. People learn to value these and feel proud about the heritage of India.
Handicraft is the second largest livelihood for more than 23 million Indians and hence plays a very important role in the decentralized economy of the country.
The exhibition displays a spread of beautiful creations by the very talented and skillful craftsmen and women. The sale helps them earn a few extra bucks and meet new customers.
At the end of the workshop, the artisans are felicitated for their talent.