Madhya Pradesh’s traditional crafts and weaves have come to Chennai for an exhibition on till July 31

Often described as ‘the incredible heart of India,’ Madhya Pradesh is home to an incredible range of handicrafts unique in their resonance and rhythm.

One gets a glimpse of it in the colourful bead jewellery worn by the Adivasi men and women from Jhabua or Neemachor at the tiny rural shops where one often comes across exquisite antique brass birds and bells.

The best of MP’s crafts and weaves comes to Chennai at the ‘Handicrafts and Handloom’ exhibition organised by the Sant Ravidas MP Handicrafts Handloom Development Corporation and Mrignayanee.

Typically bordered Chanderis and Maheswaris run the gamut of colours, from pastels to jewel tints, from traditional motifs to designer avatars.

Also on display are the rough textured tussars and the flamboyant zari and bead encrusted Bhopal batuas, all sequined, beaded and glinting with silver and brass coins.

Eye-catching

National Award winner Pushpa Harit’s tribal jewellery pieces are scene stealers here. Living in Jhabua with the adivasis, she handcrafts neck pieces, pendants and bangles which replicate tribal jewellery but with a contemporary twist.

“I’ve employed tribal techniques and motifs but used superior check beads and different colour combinations.” Her jewellery line has wonderful pendants woven with floral and geometric motifs in colours that are ‘haute’ enough to complement ramp wear.

Iconic Tikamgarh brass antique pieces bring a classic touch to the exhibition. Dilip Soni, a paramparik artisan, has created stunning jewellery boxes, cows and bullock carts, Buddha heads, decorative vases and oil lamps with etchings on the surface. “These are copies of original, pieces which are housed in the Gwalior museum,” says Soni. He creates exact copies by making moulds out of ‘gur’ and local mud. When the mould is completely dry, molten brass is poured in and cooled for 20 minutes by which time the brass has taken the shape of the desired object.

It is, however, the Gond artist Roshan Dhurwey’s evocative canvases which drench the exhibition in blazing colours. Dhurwey creates paintings in typical tree of life imagery full of stylised birds, tribal figures and animals. Says the artist, “These paintings are symbolic of our way of life. They were earlier done on the walls of our huts. Now, the old style Gond huts have disappeared and so have the wall paintings. I paint on canvas and paper and tell our stories of Nature, flower, men and women.”

The Handloom and Handicraft exhibition is on view at Sri Sankara Hall, TTK Road, till July 31.