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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Women enthral with magic of hands

Ritam Halder, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 08, 2013
First Published: 23:31 IST(8/3/2013) | Last Updated: 23:32 IST(8/3/2013)

The national Capital on Friday witnessed a unique crafts exhibition as the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts played host to women artisans and performers.

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As part of the seven-day festival ‘Bhumika’, which highlights the role of women in cultural heritage, artists from across the country wooed Delhiites with their handicrafts on International Women’s Day.

Kripamoyee Karmakar, a patachitra artist from Bankura in West Bengal, was gleaming as she showcased her creations to visitors.

“This is my first visit to Delhi and also to any crafts mela. I am overwhelmed to see the enthusiasm among people here,” said the 38-year-old, who is a professional artisan for more than 20 years.

Chandrika Maharshi, a Mysore-style ganjifa painting expert, welcomes this all-women extravaganza.

“Men cannot create handicrafts as good as women. So, they won’t allow us to come to the forefront. These festivals and various government and non-government organisations provide a level playing field,” said Maharshi, who has been trained by her father in the art at a tender age.

Mahamaya Sikdar, a kantha artisan from Kolkata, shares similar views. “They (men) have to outdo us with quality. But that does not happen,” she said.

There are many women who work hard to give shape to their artworks. Nazda Khatoon from Bihar devotes days to make a Madhubani painting. Jebunisa from Ujjain has built a five-room house from a mere thatched hut, thanks to her block painting skills.

Sushila Mangte Kom from Manipur has brought amazing, yet affordable, black pottery utensils. Gouri Bala Jana from Midnapore offers a bamboo mat for R20,000.

Apart from them, 11 Delhi-based young artists are also participating in the fair.

“This is a bid to explore new horizons for folk and tribal arts in contemporary times,” said Anjali Sinha, one of the artists.


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