Unique crafts at Shilpa Kala
Chanchal Kumar Chakraborty from Delhi, India has come to the Shilpa Kala exhibition at the BMICH with the unique contemporary brass ornamental crafts he has created, using traditional techniques.
Chanchal Kumar is pleased that most of the visitors who came to the exhibition liked his crafts as they understood the workmanship behind the products. The exhibition, he says, is a great opportunity to get to know the crafts, creators and the culture of his neighbouring country.
“Some of the Sri Lankan crafts are simply fascinating, I particularly love the traditional Sri Lankan masks,” he adds.
A craftsman from Jaffna, S. Ratnagopal makes copper embossed handmade art and runs his business from his home town, catering to a few regular customers. Ratnagopal is quite upbeat about taking part in this year’s Shilpa Kala exhibition. It is only the second time during his 30 years in the industry that he has had a chance to bring his products to Colombo.
“This is very encouraging and I got a few orders already,” he says.
Ratnagopal and Chanchal Kumar are among some 40 craftsmen who are a part of the Shilpa Kala exhibition currently being held at the Mihilaka Medura, BMICH.
An exhibition cum sale of traditional Indian and Sri Lankan crafts and textiles, the event features an exclusive range of magnificent handlooms, a variety of crafts and textiles from Bihar, Rajasthan, Jammu Kashmir, West Bengal, as well as the creations by local craftsmen from areas such as Ambalangoda, Jaffna, Polonnaruwa, Galle etc.
Brass, copper and silverware, cane and bamboo products, wooden crafts, clay and terracotta products, batiks, beeralu lace, sarees, shawls, duppattas, kurtas, dress material, jewellery, handlooms, cushion covers, dumbara mats and masks are among the other traditional crafts and textiles common to both India and Sri Lanka.
According to Nandasena Kalahewattha from Wewaldeniya, local craftsmen like him, especially those from rural areas, rarely get the chance to come to the public eye. An exhibition like this fills that void by giving them a huge opportunity to take their products to the people.
“I have been in the field for 40 years and my creations are made of raw bamboo. People were surprised to find out that you can do these kinds of creations out of bamboo,” he says.
Some of the other interesting crafts found at the Shilpa Kala exhibition include; traditional cane food containers of W.A.C. Kumara Wijesinghe from Polonnaruwa, innovative artifacts created by Showbik Daw using the wax metal process of Bengal, wood and papier-mâché items of the Kashmir master craftsman Hakim Ghulam Mohammad, traditional masks of Susantha Kumara from Ambalangoda, Ramananda Basak’s pure cotton handloom weavings from West Bengal, the silver and brass traditional arts and crafts of H.G.P Munasinghe from Kandy, the woodcarvings of Arshad Kafeel from Uttar Pradesh, beadwork jewellery of the rural Agaaz society of women from Salai Hapur Uttar Pradesh etc.
The Shilpa Kala exhibition is a project by the High Commission of India in Colombo in collaboration with the Investment and Technology Promotion Division of the Ministry of External Affairs India with artisan coordination handled by Jaya Jetly of Dastkari Haat Samiti of India and Buddhi Keerthisena of Hands of Sri Lanka National Arts and Crafts Foundation.
Shilpa Kala is open to the public free of charge from 10.a.m to 7 p.m today.