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Colours of a vibrant culture

Old traditions find new expressions at a sale of Kutch products starting today

Among other things, the show features a variety of rugs reworked on a traditional motif base.

SITUATED IN Gujarat along the border of Pakistan, Kutch is known for its culturally distinct and enterprising people who have preserved the traditional customs, costumes and crafts of the region. Their weaving, dyeing, printing, bandhani (tie-and-dye), embroidery, leatherwork, pottery, woodwork and metalwork carry a distinct stamp. The number of crafts that flourish in this small geographical zone — braving geographical isolation, infrastructural deficiencies and natural disasters (including the devastating earthquake on January 26, 2001) — is amazing.

Even as they fight a valiant battle against crass commercialisation of their unique craft, they have creatively incorporated subtle changes into their myriad craft traditions to secure a place for them in the world market.

The synergy

A weeklong special promotion, titled Resurgent Kutch, is being presented at Yamini to showcase a selection of textile and non-textile crafts from Kutch. The products being displayed are the outcome of synergising the creative energy of master craftsmen, artisans and designers of Kutch. "Resurgent Kutch is neither a designer's take on craft nor is it a completely traditional presentation of it," explains Sherree Carlos of Yamini. "Rather, it is a walk that the artisans took with designers in the process of exploring their own craft, motifs, colours and techniques." The artistic reserves in Kutch are so vast that whatever has been attempted in Resurgent Kutch is only a fraction of the possibilities of re-interpretation. The effort is to make the crafts appear new and different, even as they remain within traditional parameters.

Resurgent Kutch focuses on products of everyday use, mainly in textiles, with some Kutch crafts being merged to create a new compatibility. On display would be embroidered and boldly colour-mixed shawls, Ajrak block-printed dupattas and stoles, sarongs and ponchos, and a more contemporary range done in batik. A variety of rugs, reworked on a traditional motif base, would be among the highlights of the exhibition, along with a range of metal products for table tops such as trivets, tea light holders, coaster sets and platters, and a delectable selection of traditional bells.

The more traditional products on offer at Resurgent Kutch would include a collection of silver jewellery (earrings, necklaces, anklets, and kadas), leatherware (such as wallets and spectacle cases) and brightly hued lacquer ware presented in a range of toys that includes a neat abacus.

Resurgent Kutch is on from January 19 to 25 at Yamini, 11/2, Haudin Road, Ulsoor. Phone: 5588858 /51134782.


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