Madhya Pradesh’s craft traditions take centre stage at an exhibition in Sankara Hall.

The craftspersons of Madhya Pradesh put the sap of kusum and mahua flowers which grow abundantly in the region, to artistic and creative use. Celebrating this synergy of the karigars’ skills and Nature, Mrignayanee is holding an exhibition of handicrafts and handlooms from Madhya Pradesh, at Sankara Hall. Pushpa Harit, National and two-time State Awardee, fashions exquisite jewellery out of tiny multi-coloured glass beads. Her designs and technique are based on the bead jewellery tradition of Jhabua tribals of MP. “I have been inspired by the bead jewellery of the Jhabuas though I have worked at giving the range a contemporary feel.” The cluster and woven haars, bracelets, anklets and jhumkas make delicate fashion statements, are easy on the purse, and smack of fine craftsmanship.

Innovative designs

Equally innovative are Imran’s exquisite ari embroidered wall hangings, again an adaptation of Bhopal’s medieval craft of batua making. Using beautiful birds of Mughal miniature tradition, he has fashioned not just wall hangings but cushion covers and runners. His bead batuas are arresting. Says Imran, “We need a frame over which we spread the fabric and on it we draw the design. The embroidery used is the ari stitch which is worked from under the frame, with glass beads slipped into the needle on the top.”

This seamless melding of tradition and innovation can be seen in other crafts on view. Sabih of Indore does Maheshwari motifs on Lucknow’s chikankari embroidery with pleasing effect. Mahendra Chauhan’s reproductions of Rajput miniatures on Chanderis not only present Ras Leela but also royal personages, flora and fauna. Also on view are Santosh Kumar’s abstractions of Hindu mythology or interpretations of gods expressed in contemporary styles. A post graduate in Fine Arts, his frames are compelling both in execution and style. Of course, there are rich Chanderis, Maheshwaris and tussars to fit every occasion. In traditional colours with a hint of zari and the magic of Bagh prints, the saris, salwar suits and yardage offer a glimpse of the rich textile heritage of MP. If one is looking for gifts, there are lac bangles crafted by Mion Javed and Farida, jute bags and much else.

The exhibition is on view till July 31.