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Updated: June 4, 2014 21:05 IST

Europeans bowled over by Kalamakari

T. Appala Naidu
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A foreigner selecting Kalamkari products at Pedana in Krishna district.
Photo: T. Appala Naidu A foreigner selecting Kalamkari products at Pedana in Krishna district.

Nicolas Sarkozy’s sister to Oprah Winfrey’s designer, many prefer it.

Traditional Kalamkari artisans of a tiny town on the Indian East Coast have a valid reason to cherish and celebrate their work, for to which Europeans are doffing their hats in awe. If anything to go by the sale of Kalamkari products, exporter P. Srinivas and his New York-based business partner Mary Mulcahy, France President Nicolas Sarkozy’s sister, designer for Oprah Winfrey and world famous interior designer Jacques Grange are a few who fell in love with the exquisite work done by the rural artisans.

The swelling register of the Kalamkari lovers also tempted the ‘Vogue Magazine’ that ran a green campaign referring natural fabric designs and products of the Kalamkari in their Christmas issue. In Hollywood, Kalamkari product made in Pedana can be sighted in the Academy Award winning movie Dallas Buyers Club, an American biographical drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallee.

Referring to orders pouring in from across the Europe, in an e-mail to Mr. Srinivas, Ms. Mulcahy wrote earlier that “I wanted to tell you that the crown princess of Greece contacted me and wants to use our fabrics for her products and her shops in London, Athens and New York. That is quite an honour!!!”.

“Many a times I am helpless to meet the demand from my customers, particularly in the rainy season. It was a great honour for every artisan for the recognition that our art has received around the world,” opined Mr. Srinivas. Kalamkari artisans and renowned Kalamkari block-designers Gangadhar brothers have expressed that they have a greater responsibility in maintaining the standard and quality of the rural industry for the sake of well-being and survival of the traditional art – Kalamkari.

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