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Sunderbans-based artists Dinesh Mondal, Naresh Das bring their art of clay doll-making to Mumbai

Updated on: 09 December,2023 08:30 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Tanishka D’Lyma | mailbag@mid-day.com

Artists from the Sunderbans, Dinesh Mondal and Naresh Das bring their treasured art of clay doll-making to Mumbai for the first time

Sunderbans-based artists Dinesh Mondal, Naresh Das bring their art of clay doll-making to Mumbai

A Bengal Tiger in the Sunderbans. Pic courtesy/Wikimedia Commons

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As you read this, two clay artists — Dinesh Mondal and Naresh Das — from Manmathanagar village in West Bengal would have begun the second half of their 40-hour train journey from Kolkata to Mumbai. The city will welcome them for their inaugural clay doll-making workshop at Mahalaxmi’s G5A Warehouse this Sunday.


A tiger figurine made from clay
A tiger figurine made from clay


The workshop will be facilitated by Tram Arts Trust, a 2011 object theatre company. Choiti Ghosh, the platform’s artistic director and object theatre practitioner, shares that the company has been researching the rich and varied practices of doll-making in West Bengal. She elaborates, “Due to the geography of the Sunderbans, and the population which has been migratory for decades, there is no single culture or style of doll-making. Different villages have their own style in which they make clay dolls. But the common factor is that one category is the social dolls that depict the everyday lives of the people, the honey collectors, fisherfolk, as well as its flora and fauna. The others include worship figures, based on Sunderbans’ legends and stories.”


Choiti Ghosh
Choiti Ghosh

Ghosh reveals that many styles have evolved from traditions to match contemporary sensibilities. Mondal and Das fall within this group of Sunderbans’ artistes for their mix of traditional and contemporary styles with the idea of finding varied relevancies for the doll art of West Bengal.  Participants will be taught to create three-dimensional clay creatures from the region, including the Royal Bengal Tiger, using hand-sculpting techniques that require no mould or model.

Clay dolls depicting a scene. Pics courtesy/Abhisar Bose
Clay dolls depicting a scene. Pics courtesy/Abhisar Bose

The workshop will be a two-hour session where no prior experience is needed, and all the required material will be provided. The generational and first-generation clay artists will be accompanied by a translator to communicate with those who do not speak Bangla. And yes, you can take your creations home, too.

The session is a part of G5A’s ongoing culture festival called Should Art 2023 — a three-week-long celebration of art-making through performances, conversations, readings, installations, workshops and more. The festival will continue till December 17.

On: December 10; 6.30 pm
At: G5A Warehouse, Laxmi Mills Estate, Mahalaxmi West, Worli.
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