Thursday, 20 March 2014

Raghurajpur: Giving Life to Heritage Indian Art

Heritage Art, anywhere in the world, clearly deserves to be preserved.  I have deeply adored & cherished heritage wherever in the world - be it Aboriginal Art in Australia or Bushman Art in South Africa (yes, I own pieces at my level of affordability, buying directly from the communities, when I traveled to Australia & South Africa respectively).

Now, India .. of all the places in the world.. is probably among the top three richest reservoirs of Culture and Heritage.  My view that.

So, how much should we cherish, respect & take forward a rich legacy we inherited?

Here we are .. largely caught in our own worlds .. often, leaving the future of rich Indian heritage .. guess what, in the hands of middlemen and sometimes, unfortunately, even those that take away cherished idols through smugglers :( That wouldn't be disgusting .. its plain disgrace!

This is a heART wrenching story:

Raghurajpur is a heritage crafts village in Puri district of Odisha, India.





A small village where every household is devoted to the art form so much that this poignant video has one of the artists rightly expressing how much fulfillment a completed work of art lends an artist!

Alas, how we wish we could all live on fresh air & fulfillment.  No, life requires food, shelter and education .. let alone medicare and other essentials .. all the more in inflationary times!

It is in this background that IndiBlogger's IndiChange came up with this initiative to showcase deserving causes in partnership with doright.in.

This post is a tribute, in my own small way, to India's rich heritage, the artists who give not just life to art - but their entire lives to art, to IndiBlogger for inspiring us to belong to this Country truly & to Do Right as a campaign.

Laudably, the Do Right campaign has now raised funds to build a website for these Raghurajpur artists so they can directly sell their prized art instead of relying on exploitative middlemen.

But, when I invested time researching for this post, here are some extra suggestions / ideas I came up with, to further the art form as well as bring in more revenue to the artists.

First, take a look at some of the art samples:







Did I hear you say "magnificent"? 

Yes.  I gather Ireland has been very interested in this art form and has been an active supporter.  Thank you Ireland, we would love to reciprocate to understand your crown jewels (i.e., art forms) & support them as well.

Now, back to Raghurajpur:

I think, given how breathtaking this art form is, I first would want the artists to diversify.  Yes, they seem to largely be producing 'art' - the variety that can be hung on walls.  Yes, its magnificent.  But, for me, I want out of the box solutions to get them more revenue.

Here are my suggestions:

1.  I want to see Raghurajpur art on jewelry! Yes, i know, you will think here she goes .. the incurable jewellerista.

I agree, I'm born with a karmic connection to jewelry.  But, that is not why I articulate this here.

Take statistics: how much jewelry is sold the world over versus how much art is sold .. I am talking transaction numbers first and value next.  All the more in today's world .. where chances of more volume is higher than chances of selling high value items.

Sample some of these near jewelry Indian Art - they are from other parts of India, such as Rajasthan - but the Raghurajpur artists can very well adapt and produce breathtaking necklaces such as these - these are framed necklace artwork - I am talking real, wearable necklaces - trust me, will be a super duper hit:






Don't you already feel like buying them? I do .. I would love to, if required, be involved to help Raghurajpur artists adapt and start also producing jewelry pieces .. then give it wide coverage and help them generate revenues worldwide!

2.  I want to see Raghurajpur art on Fashion - Apparel & Accessories:





I want to see Raghurajpur art on apparel - Indian Ethnic, Western & Fusion as well as accessories such as bags, clutches, scarves & stoles .. not to mention artifacts (such as a Rajasthani example below - a table clock cum mobile phone holder):





All of us fashionistas will go out of our way to promote and buy.  I would further campaign on social media and we could look at possibilities of hosting special fashion shows .. garnering eye balls and eventually wallets from all over the fashion world!

Think about it and share your thoughts as well.

That brings me to the end of this post .. trying to add my little bit to infusing life to artists who give, not just life to art, but their entire lives .. to Indian heritage art.  Take a bow!

Cheers :)