Learning lessons of life from artisans

DISCOVERING INDIA: Rolf Jahn photographing a local artisan at work at the Kala Ashram in Adilabad.  

S. Harpal Singh

German national documents `contentedness' of Indian artisans

Five photo exhibitions organised in Germany, one in Vizag `Simplicity of techniques employed by artisans amazing'

ADILABAD: When it comes to sparing a thought about improvement in quality of human life, the teacher in Rolf Jahn, turns to the work and life of Indian artisans of the myriad kind.

Belonging to Gandstein near Leipzig in Germany, Jahn has pictorially documented the art and life of Indian artisans over the last seven years and organised exhibitions back in Germany to show them what `contentedness' means.

"I am amazed at the simplicity of techniques employed by Indian artisans for indulging in seemingly difficult crafts. By extension, the artisans make their life seem so simple despite material deprivations. For us Westerners, there is a lesson to be learnt from the work and lives of these artisans," felt Rolf Janh.

APCOST organises visit

The German teacher was in Adilabad's Kala Ashram interacting with Guruji Ravinder Sharma on his pet subject on Saturday.

His visit to the ashram was organised by Andhra Pradesh Council of Science and Technology, Hyderabad. P.V. Subba Rao, APCOST Project Officer, was present.

Rolf Jahn has organised five photo exhibitions in Germany and one in Andhra University, Visakhapatnam. The work and lives of weavers, potters, sculptors, bamboo artisans, metal casters, iron smiths, gold smiths, fishermen and salt makers documented by him were displayed.


"The common man in Germany was fascinated by the wisdom and capacity of an Indian artisan to live a happy contented life. They understood that the way of life depicted by the smiling artisans in my pictures held a hope for people in the West," observed Rolf Jahn.

Learning about India

It was through his friend and first Ambassador of German Democratic Republic (GDR) to India Herbert Fischer that Rolf Jahn learnt about the richness of culture in India.

`Peaceful coexistence' was common to the lives of Indians and Germans who belonged to the former GDR.

This was an aspect which attracted him towards India, said Rolf Jahn.