Craft inspired by calligraphy

Craft inspired by calligraphy


Intricate craftsmanship and calligraphy will come toge­ther at the upcoming Akshara: Crafting Indian Scripts organised by the Dastkari Haat Samiti. The art of beautifying the scripts proposes to highlight the importance of Saaksharta throughout India by giving it a new dimension and meaning through skills practi­c­ed by its craftsmen. What would be a better way to encourage education?

A six-day design development workshop on calligraphy was conducted at Indian Social Institute last year in October where skilled craftsmen were explained the concept behind calligraphy and how it can be applied to various regional scripts. The result was evolution of new designs on paper which were produced over the following three months using calligraphy. They were drawn upon the visual strength of India’s regional scripts and were translated onto a range of products in natural materials with traditional craft skills. Senior Graphic designers and Craft designers assisted in translating regional scripts into aspects of contemporary design.

The thus developed art forms will now be displayed as part of the exhibition. The exhibition will include works of Shabir Ali Beigh, Mehboob Ali Beigh and Gulam Mohammad Beigh’s Kani Sozni’s embroidery from Jammu and Kashmir in Urdu; Madhubani from Bihar in Devanagari by Ambika Devi; Kavad from Rajasthan in Devanagari by Satyanarayan Sutar; Sanjhi from Uttar Pradesh in Devanagari by Ram Soni; Leather paintings from Andhra Pradesh in Telugu by Sindhe Sreeramulu; Clay work in Tamil from Tamil Nadu by Palaniswamy and Adil Writer; Silver work from Rajasthan in Malayalam, Kannada and Bengali by Vishal Khandelwal; Wood and lacquer work from Karnataka in Kannada by Noor Salma; Stone carving from Odissa in Odiya by Sheshadev Sahu; Shibori from Delhi in Bodhi by Mura Collective; Zari embroidery and wood block carving from Delhi in Urdu by Mohd Ayub and Mohd Waris; Papier mache art from Jammu and Kashmir in Urdu by Fayaz Jaan and Jharna Patachitra paintings in Bengali from West Bengal by Radha Chitrakar.

“Saaksharta, or literacy, is crucial to India’s development. To be able to read and write, and thus improve communication skills, is one of the greater liberating experiences for any human being. As India moves towards greater literacy, particularly among women, the use of scripts, the shape of the written word, the visual cadence of a sentence, the curve of a line in a letter of an alphabet, all come into unconscious focus in the creative mind’s eye.

An aesthetically fascinating vista appears on a page, finally making sense to the newly literate reader. The rural artisan feels a sense of inadequacy without the knowledge of English or the computer. Dastkari Haat Samiti seeks to address this issue in a pioneering manner,” says Jaya Jaitly, founder and president of Dastkari Haat Samiti.

The exhibition will also include an art film on combining choreography and calligraphy with dancers Navtej Johar and Justin McCarthy and calligrapher Rajeev Kumar. A performance by Qawwals is expected to entertain the viewers and demonstrate the variety of Indian regional languages.

Akshara: Crafting Indian Scripts, will be held at India Habitat Centre, from September 16 to 21.