The Dastkar Kidstuff craft carnival thrilled Delhiites

Younglings and parents stand awestruck as two tigers devour a goat and a villager in the Capital. The silence in the crowd is broken only by roars of the magnificent creatures feasting on their delectable meals. As the beats of the changu (tambourine) die down, crowds burst into admiration and performers bask in appreciation. The ritualistic dance, worshiping Mangaladevi reveals a glimpse of the cultural heritage of Odisha to Kisan Haat during the Dastkar Kidstuff craft carnival for kids.

Not far away, acclaimed storyteller Paro Anand narrates excerpts from her book, The Little Bird Who Held up the Sky with His Feet. Dabbling with the imagination of her young audience, the storyteller transports her listeners to the plight of forests being washed away by floods. Her storytelling is followed by a drawing competition and helps the already invigorated young to express their imagination towards the ecosystem.

Playing host to some 50 stalls, the Kidstuff carnival saw stalls from across the country, which aimed at exploring the commercial viability of the tribal arts. The crowds thickened at the venue as the relentless summer heat mellowed in the evening. Workshops ranged from Rajasthan paper mache and black pottery clay modelling to Patwa jewellery and Gond folk painting. In 30 minutes, Gyan Chand taught kids how to make bamboo work kites while Razia elaborated on the intricacies of crochet work to all who thronged around her. Angad Prajapati from Azamgarh commanded the most popular workshop and dispensed his knowledge about making pots and pen stands to eager pupils within three to five minutes. Ramesh Tekar spread traces of his expertise in Madhya Pradesh’s Gond paintings, with an A4 size painting taking about two hours to complete.

Stalls across the carnival were focused on craft work that would appeal to children. The Society for Child Development, Delhi, exhibited goods made by differently abled children centred on the concept of recycling. Bahadur, present at the stall, mentioned that their products ranged from Rs.200 to 500 and said that they had received an encouraging response at the event. The hand-blown print and indigo dye print stall supported by the Centre of the Study of Values had such immense response that they had to restock their collection of kurtas. Priced between Rs. 750 and 2,200, the stall sold out all kurtas that were sized for adults.

Ritika Chatterjee enjoyed the book reading sessions the most, while Krishnangshu Roy adjudged the yellow and white tigers from the Odia performance as his favourite. Fifth grade student Tatsuru Kamono from Japan appreciated the pottery workshop the most.

Santhya Malik of Dastkar, while elucidating on the genesis of such an event, mused, “We have generally been involved with larger events with around 150 to 160 stalls, or smaller ones which have around 40 to 50 stalls. This event is somewhere in the middle, and it is the first time that we have focused on children. We aim to introduce children to regional craftsmen, their techniques and their styles. We also hope that they become aware of our rich heritage of crafts and hope that they appreciate the creativity of artists.”