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Stick to the script

Regional languages get an interesting twist as they are woven with the works of Indian craftsmen

art and culture Updated: Sep 16, 2012 00:42 IST
Vaishali Bhambri

In a bid to honour our vernacular scripts and bring out its beautiful aesthetics along with spreading the message of literacy, Dastkari Haat Samiti, has come up with a new concept called Akshara — crafting Indian scripts, which kicks off in the city today. The project will host an array of events, all centred on giving a brand new design range to the regional scripts.

“The event is all about bringing together craftsmen and Indian scripts. They now appreciate the alphabet and use calligraphy as an art form,” says Jaya Jaitly, Founder and President of Dastkari Haat Samiti. The project has worked with 58 producer-groups, languages and scripts and 15 craft, textile and art forms, covering 16 states of India. The exhibition will provide the crafter with a new range of designs that incorporates the ancient with the contemporary.

“I always used to feel troubled when kaarigars (craftsmen) who were immensely talented, could not read or write. Through such an initiative, they can be literate and practice the art as well,” she says.

The exhibit will combine Urdu with Kani Sozni embroidery and papier mache art, Devanagari with Madhubani, Kavad and Sanjhi, Telugu with leather painting, Kannada with silver work, wood and lacquer work among many others. Apart from the exhibit, the event will also screen a 20 minute film titled Aksharakaaram - Meditations in calligraphy and film. “It’s a contemporary film. Six dancers explore movements, connected with the flow that is seen when a calligrapher writes,” she says.

The concept was conceived in 2010 when a small scale exhibit was held in Chennai. “We were actually testing waters. It was the first draft version of the project on Calligraphy in Crafts. And the response was excellent,” she says.

An art book titled Crafting Indian Scripts highlighting the use of Indian scripts on crafts in the past, cataloguing the exhibits of the Akshara exhibition, and honouring the unknown calligrapher who paints walls and film posters will also be available at the venue.

Here you go:
What: Akshara - crafting Indian scripts
Where: India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Estate
When: September 16-21
Timing: 10am -8pm
Entry: Open to all
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