The recent surge in COVID-19 cases has resulted in a number of city events either rescheduled or cancelled. Amid the uncertain new phase of this pandemic, the 36th Annual Dastkari Haat Craft Bazaar is still going strong. This edition of Craft Bazaar—it features 103 stalls from different corners of India—was unveiled on Saturday at Dilli Haat, INA, and will continue till January 15.
Organised by Dastkari Haat Samiti (DHS), an NGO headed by Jaya Jaitley, the Bazaar is conducted in collaboration with Navdanya, an NGO that promotes the conservation of biodiversity and is founded by Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva.
Art, craft, and community
The artisans who are showcasing at the Bazaar offer crafts and handlooms in a number of materials. Ambika Devi, an artisan from Bihar, has brought the traditional art of Madhubani Painting—hand-painted on paper or fabric using natural dyes—at this event. Many of these paintings represent scenes from the Ramayana. “This craft has been passed down to me through generations.
Earlier, the women in our house did not work, but now with this craft, we work and provide for our family,” shares Devi. Salauddin is another artisan from Benaras who offers an array of handwoven silk sarees through his family craft of Benarasi weaving. These sarees are woven by members of his family and a team of 10 artisans who work under him.
Under the common theme ‘Krishi Aur Kala’ (The Farmer and the Artisan), this Bazaar also has an exhibition featuring craftspersons offering crafts dedicated to the preparation and serving of food. This is an attempt to create awareness about the interrelationship between farmers and handicrafts.
Hoping for the best
In an effort to reduce exposure, strict COVID-19-related protocols are being followed here—temperature checks, mandatory face mask, and only alternate stalls are occupied. Each stall has specific sanitation booths as well. Adhering to the latest pandemic protocols announced by the Delhi Disaster Management Association, the Bazaar will be closed today and on Sunday.
Although DHS has been trying their best to provide an appropriate platform to showcase the talent of artisans, due to the unforeseen rise in COVID cases this year, the Bazaar has barely seen any traction. “Earlier, we got a lot of sales under the importance of handlooms and handicrafts in the previous years. However, this year I have barely got any work,” shares Salauddin. As uncertainty looms ahead, one can only hope that we witness better times in the months to come.