Healed by newspapers

Healed by newspapers

There is a century-old organisation in Kolkata called Artemis Fountain Foundation that has taken up the cause of uplifting the lives of trafficked survivors of South 24 Parganas in West Bengal, by providing them with an alternate source of livelihood through art.

Spearheading the setup for three years now are septuagenarian Shipra Banerjee and young Arpita Roy. The survivors are trained in the craft to make appealing and innovative decor items from newspapers by rolling them into various shapes.

In a first, newspaper-rolling and fabric painting are done on the items displaying the famed pattachitras of coastal West Bengal. So, the organisation is doing its bit to revive the dying art of the region. Pattachitras are the ancient folk art of rural Bengal (and Odisha) that date back to the 13th century. The craftsmen make use of organic paints, and the artworks are biodegradable and durable.

Newspapers are cut and rolled out, glued, and once their binding is done, the sketches are drawn on the surface and painted with organic paints. The paintings are sun-dried.

Most paintings portray the women of West Bengal, and it takes around one-and-a-half days to complete one artwork.

One comes across an amazing variety of home decor showpieces made of newspapers like fruit baskets, jewellery box, flower vase, ashtray etc. They are priced reasonably, the range being Rs 250 (fruit basket) - Rs 300 (vase).

By the looks of it, it's difficult to tell these are crafted from newspapers. The artworks have many takers including corporate companies.

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