India is undoubtedly one of the most visually appealing countries in the world. The colours, sounds, sights and food make India an unforgettable experience for the global traveler. But above all, it is the arts and crafts that define the soul of the country. Each region expresses its nature by means of its local crafts.
This post is about those arts and crafts that have local roots but have evolved with time. The bright artifacts you see in the images celebrate the true spirit of the people who create these visual dramas. Unlike most handicraft forms, this one has no true name. It is an amalgamation of old crafts with new material and concepts. By creating trendy, eye-catching decor pieces through revival and reinvention of these dying crafts, a new market for them has emerged.
Art usually stems from what we see around us. It is not surprising that this colourful autorickshaw has all the embellishments seen on a truly loved possession. The craftsman has spared no effort in ensuring his creation has the minutest of details. The piece, being only around 6 inches in height, displays the mastery of the craft. It reminds one of the kaleidoscopic art seen on the famous Indian trucks of yore. These pieces are now highly sought after even in foreign markets.
The power to adapt with changing times ensures the survival of a civilization, and by extension, the survival of many craftsmen and their art. These beautiful creations come from the dusty villages of Rajasthan and as with all handicrafts, it is the daily life and surroundings that inspire. These elegant yet quirky bulls signify the important place that they hold in Indian village life. They have been created out of sheets of beaten waste metal sheets which are malleable and light weight.
This owl-cat-human figurine has been painted with acrylic paints and ceramic paint has been used to apply the intricate motifs – a perfect example of integrating modern material with timeless art. As with all Indian folk arts, this too is heavily embellished with sequins and bright stones. The quirky minimalist structure, jeweled tones and embellishments are what makes any decor piece outstanding.
Depicted here is a man and a woman, bejeweled in the brightest of hues. The opulent look has been introduced by the use of very modern day metallic paint. Available in a various sizes, this would work with any sort of decor. This explosion of brilliant colours with its intricate ceramic work laid in the style of ancient mehndi art creates a stunning combination.
These crafts are available in home decor stores like Homestop and Hometown, online stores like Craftsvilla, Limeroad, and Fabfurnish and at handicraft expos like Dilli Haat, Dastakar, and Sampooran.
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All images shot by Meenakshi Varma.