India has an incredible history when it comes to its vibrant art and culture. And while a lot of art forms are flourishing and getting the international fame and recognition that they deserve, there are still many hidden gems that are on the brink of disappearance due to a lack of resources and manpower.
Yet, some incredible artists in India are going the extra mile to ensure our indigenous arts stay alive. Here are some that should be on your radar...
Machihan Sasa and Mathew Sasa - Longpi Pottery
Made by the Tangkhul Naga tribe of Manipur, Longpi pottery is a unique form of art that has been preserved by master craftsman, Mathew Sasa, whose father, Machihan Sasa is a National Award-winning potter. Made out of serpentine rock, which is very commonly found in Longpi, it’s shaped using bare hands and moulds, unlike a regular potter’s wheel. Once the pot is made, leaves are rubbed against it, lending it a smooth black finish. Since the process of making Longpi Pottery is long and laborious, newer generations are staying away from this line of work. But the Sasa duo are keeping the art alive.
Jaipur Rugs - Hand-Knotted Carpets and Rugs
Indian weavers have been practicing the art of creating hand-knotted carpets for several years. However, the technology boom and availability of faster and more efficient looms have forced people to let go of this indigenous craft—a beautiful one at that. Jaipur Rugs have been giving this practice a much-needed push with its ‘Manchaha’ initiative where weavers create rugs from imagination and using leftover yarn. Each carpet is handmade with love, has almost 200,000 knots, and is one of a kind. So, not only are you investing in a decade old weaving technique that should be celebrated, you’re investing in a unique carpert for your home that no one else could have.
Padma Shri Fayaz Ahmad Jan - Kashmiri Papier-Mâché
A native of Srinagar, Padma Shri Fayaz Ahmad Jan has been making Kashmiri Papier-Mâché paintings and murals since a very young age. The papier-mâché handicraft art was brought to India by a Muslim saint, Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani from Persia in the 14th century. Made just like regular papier-mâché, this artwork is decorated with rich colours and motifs. Jan focuses on bringing worldwide recognition to this beautiful art form and has even displayed various Kashmiri Papier-Mâché murals around the world.
Swati Agarwal and Sunaina Jalan - Gyaser Silk
A type of silk-brocade fabric made out of gold and silver threads, Gyaser is filled with rich designs and symbols that focus on long life, prosperity, and protection. Initially, unlike other silk fabrics, Gyaser silk was not used to make saris but to decorate and beautify monasteries due to its narrow and short dimensions. But, in recent years, Swati Agarwal and Sunaina Jalan, two textile revivalists from India, have been working with weavers in Varanasi to make Gyaser silk suitable for draping. And, not just that, they’re also selling these saris along with a spindle of the zari used to make the sari with the name of the master weaver who created it and information on the technique and details of the yarns used.
Ramzubhai Kumbhar - Kutch Pottery
In a small village in Bhuj, Ramzubhai Kumbhar is keeping the art of Kutch Pottery alive through his family workshop. The art dates back to 8,000 years during the Indus Valley Civilization and has been passed down generation after generation to ensure it never dies. Ramzubhai uses his eccentric skill to hand-paint traditional and geometric motifs on pots, while his family helps finish major orders, together creating awareness around this ancient craft.
RPSG Group and HELLO! India are delighted to announce the first-ever HELLO! India Art Awards on April 25 in New Delhi. The awards will felicitate and appreciate the works of established artists, upcoming talent, new media, individual and group exhibitions, galleries that curate and showcase excellent artwork, various mediums of expression, and every domain of artistic excellence there is in India today.
Stay tuned and keep following @hellomagindia for more behind-the-scenes action, exclusive interviews, and much more
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