In an effort to take traditional Indian crafts “forward” and making them a part of the contemporary lifestyle, a new heritage festival is being organised in New Delhi. The first edition of ‘Heritage 265’ will bring together hoteliers, fashion designers and craftsmen on a single platform to draw attention to the rich treasure trunk of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. A brainchild of hotelier and architectural restorer Aman Nath, the festival is a public-private partnership between The Neemrana Music Foundation (TMF) and the governments of Gujarat, MP and Rajasthan.
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It seeks to showcase the heritage of these states and help them “garner the recognition they so richly deserve”. “This initiative is to marry (urban) India with (rural) Bharat and to see that all the creativity that lives on in the villages is also incentivised through design processes from the city so that all of us become users of this. “I have been involved with architectural restoration which is also very important because it is the physical heritage and if we do not keep our masons and carpenters alive, then it just takes one generation for all of this to die down,” Nath said at a press conference today.
The two-day festival, that begins on November 25 at the JLN Stadium is being organised in collaboration with YES Bank and the Embassy of Italy. According to activist Laila Tyabji, who as come on board to promote the Indian crafts, the focus of heritage restorers should shift from mere preservation to incorporating artisans into the economics of the country.
She said that traditional art forms from different corners of the country have been taken for granted, and called for making them relevant to contemporary lifestyle. “We are fortunate that we have millions of crafts people in every corner of the count who can make anything from a terracota tumbler to a temple… they are part of our culture our heritage and also a part of our economics.
“However, because Indian crafts have always been around for several thousand years, we tend to take them for granted. Even those people who want to protect the crafts and preserve them always think they should remain the same,” she said.
However, crafts have never been static. They are part of market economy and they have to move with lifestyle and people’s needs, she said.
130 participants will take part in the exhibition, which will focus on reviving textiles and crafts from nationally awarded craftsmen and weavers, re-imagined by the country’s foremost creative minds.
Selected handicrafts, objects d’art, hand tufted carpets, lacquer products, blue pottery, miniature and Gond art, will be showcased at the festival, along with master craftsmen like, Nirmal Salvi famous for Patan Patola sarees, Abdul Jabbar Khatri and Padamshri Tyab Khan for tie and dye, Abdul Rauf Khatri for Ajarakh Block printing and Vankar Shamji Vishram for handloom weaving exhibiting at the show.
Craftsmen, particularly of languishing crafts, local artisans, women entrepreneurs, NGOs, exporters and retailers will also be a part of the festival.
A fashion show conceptualised by Sunil Sethi, President of Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) will showcase the best of Indian textiles and garments.
Other designers from the organisation like – Sanjay Garg, Gaurav Jai Gupta, Aneeth Arora, Sunita Shanker and Swati Kalsi, will use age old techniques with a contemporary twist.
They will exhibit and sell their garments and accessories at the ‘Designer’s Enclosure’.
Traditional kundan, polki and silver jewellery will also be on display along with contemporary fashion accessories.
Visitors will also get an opportunity to feast on the regional cuisine of the three states.
The festival comes to an end on November 26.