A dying art

Folk style

Having worked with craft stores for a decade, Shibani Jain realised the need to revive traditional dying art forms from across the country. With a resolve to do her bit, she researched and realised the huge value addition they could do to interior designing and decided to introduce them to urban public spaces in the form of murals, frescoes, wall art and small furniture items. Thus, was born Baaya Designs which offers folk art decor and accessories for contemporary homes, corporate and hotels.

“India has a rich culture and each state of India has a unique art form. Having worked with craft stores I felt the need to bring back the traditional dying art forms from various states like Gond from Madhya Pradesh, the less recognised Sorai from Jharkhand and Pattachitra from Orissa to mention a few,” she says.

She adds that this way “customers get access to new products, which is in a way good for them too”.

Jain involves traditional artists on project-to-project basis who are paid commission on the basis of their skills. Baaya Design works with wood, glass, terracotta, papier-mâché, copper, leather and many other materials and recently did work for the Bangalore airport and also designed a brass dhokra Dashavatar mural for a hotel in Tirupathi.

To contemporise traditional art paintings they use canvas instead of cloth and surface paints instead of traditional paints for longevity. “We also change the colour and scale and the background. For example, we use English lavender (colour) to change the look of the Warli”, Jain tells Metrolife.

Sharing the cost details, Jain says that it varies as per the intricacy of the design. “That would vary anywhere between Rs 1,200 to Rs 3,000 per square foot, depending on the art form and its feasibility to be adapted on a wall.”

Jain also draws inspiration from folk art forms from outside India. “Africa has lot of art stonework, greenstone and serpentine art forms but nobody is interested in them there. I was shocked to see these being sold at throw away prices” she says.

She feels that in India too, the government needs to promote and preserve the often neglected art forms, saying that “tribals are the custodians of ancient skills”. She says that there is also a need to disseminate and popularise these art forms in schools and design schools.

“One way to teach children Mughal history is to show them Mughal miniature paintings because they will learn faster” says Jain, who was recently in the city for a collaboration with Asian Paints’ festive season’s campaign ‘Folk in Vogue’ which showcases six of India’s traditional art forms.

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