I had a brilliant start to the day. Inspiring to say the very least. So most people in my field would know that NIFT has a Cluster programme wherein students are sent to villages to work on different art/crafts of India and come back with an interesting documentation on it.
This year, the students of NIFT FC were sent to Rajasthan and the groups worked on - Block Printing, Phad Painting, Miniature Art, and Blue Pottery.
Once more, I realized that behind all those beautifully crafted products laid hidden a story, waiting to be told, and a lot of hard work and talent, still waiting to be recognized. And once more, I was inspired.
The students of this FC batch, had a unique way of thinking - young, yet rooted in tradition, and more than anything, it just reflected the fun they had in exploring these art and craft forms.
So I’m going to begin with the first group. Cheent—-Block printing craft of Rajasthan.
This group delivered an experience instead of just information. Right from ‘stamping’ us on the side of the hand, to the introduction of Mr. Block-Man, it was an engaging presentation. We got to drink Lassi from Kulhars, covered with printed tissues, stamp our own little cards, postcards, bookmarks, and what not - now that’s what you call Branding. Well, they even had an ad for their little brand. :)
The next group, who worked on Blue Pottery too, had some exciting ideas. They told a story about the origin of the craft and traced it to its present condition, simply through illustrations (if you’ve read Persepolis, you’d know what I’m speaking of). What I found most exciting about this group was the creation of a temporary bioscope. Bioscopes are popular instruments in Rajasthan (especially Jaipur) which allow you to view a showreel in a box. This group, simply kept a laptop within a carton box, such that what you saw, was the craft process.
The other groups dealt with Phad and Miniature paintings, made the presentation very interactive - with info cards, short films, board-games, storybooks..
What I sincerely hope for is this research and students’ hard work to bear fruit. It must not stop here. I am told this exhibit will travel - and I am excited for it.
There definitely is a need for more interventions of this sort; and organizations such as mine, Dastakar and other craft bodies, need to wake up to this!
Too bad I didn’t take pictures - but someone did, and I will remember to put them up here! For now, this is what I brought back, along with all the cheer.
I am grateful to Renee, Dimple Ma’am, and Anupreet for having me over as a part of the jury. Made my day.