Buffet of Eastern crafts
An ongoing exhibit and sale in Lower Parel is offering home decor made with backstrap looms, colourful mekala and ethnic jewellery from Nagaland, and silver filigree and indigo-stained sholapith from Bengal
If you have always been intrigued by striking arts and crafts from the eastern parts of the country but haven't been able find the right platform in Mumbai to shop for them, there's a bit of good news. An annual exhibition at an art and lifestyle store will help you pick from regional home decor and clothing options from Bengal and Nagaland that will go on display and sale.
Representing Bengal, there's National Award-winning artisan Ashish Malakar who will showcase his specially crafted contemporary lampshades and ornate mirrors. Contemporary artist Jeet Chowdhury, who has extended his practice to include a narrative on various localities of Kolkata, has used indigo-stained sholapith as the raw material for his artworks, while silver filigree artist Satyam Kar will showcase a traditional style making bowls, trays and jewellery items.
A Jeet Chowdhury piece
"This is the second such show we are organising. It's exciting to put together an entire edition that has a completely new collection of design, art and crafts, which is a testimony to the rich creativity of this part of the country. When these artistes meet and interact directly with customers who do not have exposure to their work, they tend to look at it with new eyes.This could lead to independent initiatives that make their craft a viable way of life," explains Nandita Palchoudhari, organiser of Bengal Bazar.
The northeastern aspect of the exhibit, helmed by Ajungla Imchen, founder of Koya, which aims to provide sustainability to the craftsmen and self-sufficiency to artisans, will have home furnishings handwoven on the backstrap loom typical to Nagaland. "One of the beams holding a horizontal warp yarn is attached to a strap that passes across the weaver's lower back. There are six sticks which function as the warp beams.
The looms are portable and inexpensive," Imchen says. The showcase will include works that used the traditional kantha embroidery on fabric using Naga motifs such as zig-zags, basket weaves, geometrical shapes and ethnic tattoos. "Keeping the weather in mind, our stoles, knee or full-length mekelas (similar to a sarong) in cotton weaves are suitable for Mumbaikars, as they are light and breathable. A mekela along with a formal top and matching stole is ideal for a night out or even a wedding," she thinks. The jewellery will be tribal chic, made with brightly coloured beads, shells, brass and semi-precious stones like onyx and agate.
Our fave picks
- Goulu tribal jewellery
- Pottery by Dolon Kundu
- Embroidered silk scarves
TILL November 17, 11 am to 7 pm
AT BARO, 12, Sun Mill, Lower Parel.
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