Photo: Bloomberg / Getty Images
One of the few things this pandemic has given us, is the renewed focus on indigenous homegrown brands and products. It has given us the opportunity to realise that there is a lot on offer from small businesses and that there is art and talent thriving in every nook and corner of this country. Now, you can discover a lot more of the country’s popular and lesser-known crafts at the third chapter of the India Craft Week (ICW). Between 18 and 22 February, ICW is bringing the craft and heritage of West Bengal, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Jammu & Kashmir into the limelight at British Council and Bikaner House, New Delhi.
Centred around the theme ‘Crafting Tomorrow’, ICW will encourage people to come together and help keep the craft sector alive and thriving. It will showcase everything from luxury and heritage brands, culinary delights from across the country, folk and tribal paintings as well as installations by independent artists and galleries. At the British Council, walk through a Warli exhibit that tells a visual story of the emergence and growth of Warli painting as a distinct and vital art form. Witness the aesthetic work of designers like Rahul Mishra and Aashima Mehrotra, along with brands like Aadyam Handwoven, Haute Monde and Craft Beton through their elaborate installations.
In Bikaner House, be a part of masterclasses led by Padma Shri, National and International award winners such as Kalyan Joshi from Bhilwara and Majid Mir from Srinagar, who will be teaching Phad painting and Pashmina weaving, respectively. Become a student again and take a deep-dive into India’s age-old traditional crafts like ajrakh printing, phulkari embroidery, pashmina weaving and kalamkari painting. Embracing art in its myriad forms, the event will include traditional performances from various states, like Lavni from Maharashtra and the Snow Lion Dance from Sikkim.
If you’re a cinema buff, there are several short films on materials, processes, local artisans and their relationships with their craft, to look out for. Get a cinematic peek into the fascinating world of traditional arts and crafts, via Crafting Lives, a series on the lives of women weavers in Tripura and Rogan, the story of two families in Kutch still practising cloth printing. Dive into the blues with a short film called Indigo Giant, about the history of indigo cultivation in India and lose yourself in the layers and folds of the story of Maheshwari sarees.
ICW, a platform created in partnership with RARE India, is hailed as India’s official craft week and is the second-largest in the world after its international counterpart- the London Craft Week. “This year is very special as artisans and craftspersons have gone through a massive phase of distress,” says Iti Tyagi, founder, India Craft Week. “This is the largest delegation of Craft Week so far and these artisans will be for the first time gathering together to showcase the richness and grandeur of India’s vast tradition and culture.”
Register for the event here