Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Kala Raksha crafts fair

Originally uploaded by lools.

A spacious room on the second floor of Artur House in Kala Ghoda was filled with gorgeous, exquisitely hand embroidered, patched and appliqued garments and accessories. From colourful cushion covers to kurtis and jootis, I didn't know where to start shopping. Every where I looked, a unique piece was fighting for my attention. I started at one end of the room and made my way around, eagerly grabbing everything that caught my fancy at Kala Raksha's annual exhibition in Bombay.

Kala Raksha is a grassroots social enterprise committed to documenting and promoting existing traditions of art and craft from the Kutch area of Gujarat.The organization maintains a collection of heirloom textiles from which the designers and artisans continually draw inspiration for new patterns and motifs. Six different styles of embroidery passed down from generations are used in the various items created by the craftswomen. Every motif is named and has a particular significance.

What's so special about Kala Raksha is that it not only helps in preservation of traditional arts and crafts of the Kutch area but also provides illiterate women with a real source of livelihood leading to self-confidence and empowerment. I've heard that hand craft is even less valued than manual labour in India and that such handicrafts could become endangered if we don't support and promote them. How sad if we as a nation traded in all these beautiful garments for synthetics and rayons. Aagh ;(


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