A family of artisans had come from Rajasthan with the hope that their products will have a good demand in this part of Odisha where such pieces are not produced locally.
Now they have to struggle for survival as there are hardly any taker for their colourful artistic pieces made of Plaster of Paris (PoP). Gaining prominence of stone art in recent past and lack of marketing facilities have pushed the PoP art to backseat.
For Sunaram and his family of Pali district in Rajasthan, life is a struggle everyday. He and his 16-year-old son Baburam toil all day hawking their art pieces loaded in a cart.
“We have been leading a nomadic life after we left our native village four years back,” said Sunaram, adding that they were in Kolkata before coming to Bhadrak. While Sunaram’s son and wife mould the PoP into particular shapes, he paints them after drying it in the Sun. And, then Sunaram and Baburam move throughout the town and adjacent villages to sell the products in two trolleys.
Like Sunaram, two other potters from Pali have been staying in makeshift huts to earn their living. From idols to flower vases, they have a wide variety of products to offer. All they need is POP and some paint. Rest is taken care of by the magic of their hands.
“Over last few years, we have been facing a lot of problems due to increasing popularity of stone art,” said Baburam. In fact the traditional craftsmen are virtually languishing in penury due to lack of a stable marketing facility.
“We have to devote all our time to the art and are unable to think of our children’s education because we struggle to survive,” said Jagaram, another potter.
Describing their plight, he said every year they go to their native village for two months during summer. But last year they could not go to Rajasthan for want of money, he added.
Baidhar Sahu, a researcher on ancient art and culture, said these craftsmen and their traditional art will get extinct if Rajasthan Government does not take any measure.