Creativity with bamboo: Kolam tribes in Telangana swear by it for their livelihood

Gedam Kiran's first-of-its-kind bamboo-made dresses feature a unique stitching technique that involves integrating colourful fabrics from the back, enhancing their visual appeal.
Gedam Kiran at his bamboo articles workshop with members of the Kolam tribe in Adilabad, and below, a dress made from bamboo
Gedam Kiran at his bamboo articles workshop with members of the Kolam tribe in Adilabad, and below, a dress made from bamboo

ADILABAD:  Gedam Kiran, an environmental artiste from Adilabad, left fashion enthusiasts mesmerised with his first-of-its-kind bamboo-made dresses when he showcased his collection at a renowned fashion designing college in Andhra Pradesh. Kiran, renowned for his artistic endeavours, embraced the opportunity to design 10 sets of bamboo dresses for both men and women.

However, he confesses that the task was far from easy, requiring relentless dedication and two to three days of meticulous craftsmanship for each garment. Despite the challenges, the collection has garnered an overwhelming response at the fashion show, earning accolades and certificates for the participating students.

Kiran’s bamboo dresses feature a unique stitching technique that involves integrating colourful fabrics from the back, enhancing their visual appeal. This innovative approach has attracted attention and appreciation from the audience, further boosting the popularity of the show.

For Kiran, this project has brought renewed hope amid the adversities caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Having struggled to secure orders in the erstwhile Adilabad district, he ventured to other States to sustain his livelihood. Recently, he spent a month designing bamboo dresses and also imparted training to 25 students at the college.

Highlighting the importance of bamboo, Kiran emphasises that bamboo plants should be cultivated along roadsides and in office premises. He says that bamboo possesses a remarkable ability to absorb carbon dioxide, thus contributing significantly to maintaining a cleaner environment. Kiran also expresses his passion for promoting bamboo-made articles, which are eco-friendly alternatives to plastic. From chairs to bamboo houses, these creations have captured the attention of the public.

In the erstwhile Adilabad district, the indigenous Kolam tribes heavily rely on bamboo to sustain their livelihoods. They venture into the forests to collect bamboo and skillfully craft various articles, which they then sell in surrounding villages and towns.

Last year, under the Golconda Handicraft Development initiative in Utnoor, a three-month training programme was organised for these tribes. 

The training empowered them to create beautiful bamboo-made articles, which they subsequently marketed in local markets. Kiran stresses the need for the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) Utnoor to foster bamboo plantations, as they are instrumental in supporting the livelihoods of Kolam tribes and artists. 

Speaking about the struggles faced during the pandemic, Kiran stresses the urgency for the state government to create opportunities for artists, as only two artists currently exist in Telangana.

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