Glimmer of hope for folk arts

WITH HOPE IN THEIR EYES: Artistes of Sri Gangeswar Jugal Sankha Badya during a practice-cum-training session in Narendrapur village near Berhampur.   | Photo Credit: Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Santosh Patnaik

Rs.9.5-crore project under implementation

Orientation programme conducted at Gopalpur-on-seaEach district to have resource centre

BERHAMPUR: For the dying folk arts of Orissa, the implementation of Centre-sponsored pilot project by the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC) has come as a ray of hope.

The three-year project sponsored by Ministry of Rural Development, envisages revival and revitalisation of dying folk arts towards a sustainable livelihood. The Rs.9.5-crore project, first of its kind in the country, is under implementation in Orissa and West Bengal.

Taken up under Swarnajayanti Grameena Swarozgar Yojana, it will work for popularising eight forms of folk arts in five districts of Orissa. "Now we are able to present our talent in an organised way by upgrading our skills with the intervention of the district administration and EZCC officials," said Jagadish Panigrahi, secretary, Biswajanani Kala Parishad of Bhanjanagar.

While Pattachitra and Gotipua dance are being revived in Puri district, it is Chau in Mayurbhanj, Sambalpuri dance in Sambalpur, Saura paintings in Rayagada and Prahalada natak, animal mask dance and sonkhobadan (blowing conch) in Ganjam, The project is under implementation for past few months to hone the skills of artists and art groups through training and empowerment and innovation in their presentation.

"Our objective is to make the art forms more market-worthy and acceptable after the popularity of idiot box," Udaya Shankar Das, an Oriya filmmaker and State coordinator for the project, said.

SHGs formed

Mr. Das, who represents Society for Social Services Madhya Bharat Chapter, an NGO, said they were trying to create groups mostly among economically weaker sections and float self-help groups (SHGs) and identify in coordination with the district officials the talented artists and bottlenecks faced in presentation and skill upgradation.

So far, 60 SHGs comprising 800 artists have been formed.

Now efforts are on to empower the groups materially (costumes, ornaments, accessories, musical equipment through resource centres coming up in each district, Mr. Das said.

As part of the project, for the local `gurus' (elderly artists), an orientation programme was conducted recently at Gopalpur-on-sea. A uniform syllabus and training curriculum will be evolved soon in consultation with the resource persons selected from various academic institutions P.K. Sahani, District Culture Officer, said each district would have a resource centre.