Want to experience the timeless treasures that traditional Indian craftsmen turn out so painstakingly, often sitting in oblivion?To celebrate India’s varied craft forms and encourage global buyers to interact and appreciate these, New Delhi-based social venture Crafts Village has joined hands with GMR Aerocity to host the second edition of the India Crafts Week (ICW) 2019. Beginning today (December 4-8), the five-day festival will showcase the crafts by master craftsmen and luxury brands.
This includes weaving, woodworking, embroidery, metal inlay, narrative art and pottery, with exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations and talks. Supported by the World Craft Council-Asia Pacific, ICW 2019 is being held under five segments viz Craft Workshops, Craft Rare, Craft Panorama, Craft Luxe and Craft Installations.
Over 150 established and emerging craft makers, including Padma Shri and National Award-winning artisans, renowned designers, contemporary brands, brand figureheads, thought leaders and critics are active participants. Significantly, it is not just an exhibition. Equal stress is being laid on strengthening the purchase of these traditional crafts by bringing together craftspeople and contemporary makers on one platform.
"The idea behind organising ICW is to not just showcase our traditional arts and crafts but also get craftsmen connected to the open market, companies and buyers which will help them sustain their life. It is an open event, not restricted to any particular set of buyers," says Iti Tyagi, founder, India Craft Week, adding that the ICW is trying to break the myth that the crafts industry is commercially inactive.
"Apart from individual buyers and companies visiting the event, we also have many e-commerce platforms who connect with craftsmen," says Tyagi, adding, "We are very excited as with more number of craftsmen and brands participating this time, it is larger than the last time."
Tyagi travels all over India to choose craftsmen; she also keeps an eagle eye on artisans when she visits other fairs and workshops. "Like during a workshop at MSU, Baroda, I met this craftsman who makes beautiful Kachchi shawls and invited him," she says.
Tyagi selects craftsmen based on their finesse and the awards and recognition they have achieved. "Since we do not charge them anything, rather give them free spaces and take care of their food and lodgings, we are very careful of who we pick. But we also ensure that rare crafts forms on the verge of extinction also get a mileage," she says.
Other programmes here include films produced by Muzaffar Ali on various craft forms, symposiums and talks by designers, filmmakers and leading names in the music industry. "Four workshops will be held daily. We have also invited folk dancers," says Tyagi.
Majid Ahmad Mir from Kashmir (pashmina calligraphy through weaving), Leather puppetry, Shilp Guru Lalita Vakil (known for Chamba Rumaal Embroidery), Mahamaya Sikdar (who does exceptional Kantha embroidery), National Awardee Kalyan Joshi (Phad Paintings), Shakir Ali (Miniature Paintings)and Master Simran Harika (Phulkari).