From photography to travel-inspired products, Delhi University students exhibit their talents

While the work of rural artisans occupies the pride of place at Dilli Haat, the venue was a meeting ground for inquisitive Delhi University students who wanted to be part of an exposition recently -- a mix of travel-inspired products, film screenings, images and display of different cultures of various countries.

For a change, the participants were not the ubiquitous karigars but educated, cosmopolitan and skilled youngsters who used it as a platform to exhibit their talents publicly.

Permission to host the event at Dilli Haat was granted after the organiser convinced the Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation that “Dilli Haat was a big enough venue to have something for the student community, particularly those from DU.”

What worked in the festival’s favour was that it had enterprising youngsters who were keen to introduce novel concepts in government established models.

“We wanted to promote formally trained artistes, upcoming designers as well as student entrepreneurs who are educated but do not get platforms to showcase their talent. Our idea was to give a chance to young entrepreneurs, especially women, to exhibit their skills and products at a prestigious venue like Dilli Haat.”

According to Travelista Festival founder Akshuna Bakshi, the three-day-long event saw students from DU coming across with flying colours. In the photography contest, Rohit Chawla won the first prize for his image of the Chandrashila mountain range in Uttarakhand.

The genre of travel filmmaking and travel photography maybe popular across the world, especially among the backpackers, but in India, few people are aware of this and seldom document their tales and travel experiences on cameras.

The event emphasised that travel filmmaking or photography can not only reveal the scenic beauty or culture of a place but also help in providing greater representation to social issues and realities of remote regions and populations of the world.

“We wanted to encourage many more people to pick up their video cameras and shoot every time they travel. It does not have to be a professional looking sleek film but it should showcase the filmmaker’s perspective of that place. Such films and photographs can help in breaking pre-conceived stereotypes which people often have about a particular destination or a country’s culture,” says Akshuna, a 23-year-old alumnus of King’s College London.

The festival also showcased national and international handicrafts, niche handmade and designer products, heritage couture and apparel, art, vintage and kitsch sellers from across the country. While Roma Dhall bagged the second prize for her photograph of the historic Jama Masjid, Shataakshi Verma won the third prize for capturing the spirit of the streets of Italy.

In the film category, "African Skies" made by a young German filmmaker Gunther Gwegner won the first prize. Gunther, who made the film while travelling to Botswana and Zimbabwe, revealed how the horrendous poaching of animals like Rhinos was surreptitiously being carried out.

Panidhar Revanur’s "Made in Ladakh" featuring time-lapse sequences from 12 different remote locations in Northern Ladakh bagged the second prize.

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