Craft Enjoy the works of 15 master potters at an exhibition from November 16 to 22.

From Indus Valley's urban potter artists' superb paintedware pottery through the intervening millennia to today's rural urban Kumharis' timeless water pots, urns and painted earthenware, there runs a thread of amazing continuity. Not just of shape and form but also the potters' passion for morphing clay into objects of remarkable beauty and relevance, particularly the hollow pot which plays such a pivotal role in the rites of passage of man.

Each region of the country has its distinctive earthenware tradition and it is in salute to this timeless glory in mud that the Crafts Council of India brings together in Kumbham the work of 15 master potters and Shilpgurus.

Enticing concepts

At Kumbham the pots say it all, from lightest beige through nut brown to black, there are many shades in the most enticing concepts and forms. Shilpguru Girja Prasad's subtly shaded pots in the colours of the earth, Harkishen's low temperature glazed pottery, Unesco Award of Excellence winner Uttam Kumar Pal's superb pots and the colourful, vibrant charm of Ibrahim and Sarabhai's painted pots take the traditional pot to a totally new level of experience. Colourful well designed clay jewellery by Tapan Sinha, Harihara Dandia's terracotta tiles with animal imprints and Uday Kumar's tribal terracotta offer other fascinating facets of the pot experience, along with the exquisite work of Munuswamy and Sreeram from Andhra Pradesh. Clay

Pandurang and Natesan from Pondicherry bring avant-garde contemporary earthenware to Kumbham bringing mankind's oldest craft skills into today's frame. And as a fusion of the old and new is Baul Das Kumbhar's intricately worked manas chali or window pictures in black clay which are reminiscent of the terracotta temple friezes of Bishnupur.

At the recently concluded World Earthenware Expo in Korea, many of the exhibiting potters received citations and accolades. Some of the exhibits on view at Kumbham are replicas of their work sent to Korea.

Kumbham has been sponsored by the Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India. It opens on November 16, at the Lalit Kala Akademi, Greams Road. The exhibition concludes on November 22.

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