Scripting a story of craft

The Dastkari Haat Samiti brings its ambitious project to CSMVS this month

Words find a new avatar in the handicrafts of a unique project called Akshara: Crafting Indian Scripts. Look closely at the silver jewellery or the floral motifs of a kani shawl, and you will see words from 14 Indian languages. You don’t have to know the meaning to appreciate the scripts.

Pic/Charu Ravinder Verma

But, what may be aesthetics for some is utilitarian for the rest. For Akshara’s 26 craftspeople, this is the story of how they learnt to use their mother tongues in their art. The project is part of the Dastkari Haat Samiti, a national association of craftspersons founded in 1986 by Jaya Jaitly.

“Once craftspeople realise the value of literacy, computers or English, they do not continue their traditional arts. We wanted to encourage literacy, raise their economic status but also help them sustain their art,” says Jaitly. Madhubani artist Ambika Devi, for instance, has designed a set of three nesting tables, each with a wedding ritual.

The foliage bordering these matrimonial scenes contains words of traditional songs. Alongwith the exhibition in the Premchand Roychand Gallery, a crafts bazaar will be set up at the Coomaraswamy Hall. Look out for concurrent performances and a seminar.

When: October 9 - 18, 10.15 AM - 6.00 PM
Where: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharashtra Vastu Sangralaya, Fort
Call: 22844484
Enrty: Rs 70 (adults); Rs 20 (children)

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