The artistic prowess of inmates lodged at the Yerawada jail was at full display on Tuesday as the sixth exhibition of the Karagruha Udyog Maharashtra Vikri Kendra started near the Samrat Ashok Path, Yerawada. The exhibition was inaugurated by actress Sonali Kulkarni and actors Mukesh Rishi and Nagesh Bhosale. The exhibition that will continue till November 8 has on display products made by inmates that depict various forms of art, including carpentry, tailoring, dying, wiring, handloom, smithy, paper, laundry and washing section, along with paintings made by the inmates.
The main attractions at the carpentry section are the teak-wood furniture products such as sofa sets, patio chairs, carved mandir, wardrobes. Likewise, the fabrication section has clothing, cotton towels, blankets, bedsheets and handkerchiefs put on display. The bakery section has on display biscuits, nankatai, cakes, khaari and puffs made by inmates.
Keeping up with the upcoming Diwali, the exhibition also showcases many festive items. “These items were prepared throughout the year and we have organised this exhibition to present work of our inmates. During Diwali, the waste material from the production are utilised in making items such as lanters and diyas,” said Satish Sonawane, factory manager for the Yerawada Jail. He added that the inmates were given certain wages from the sales of the exhibition, which they often use to buy gifts for their relatives or send to their loved ones.
The experience helps inmates in finding a new direction to follow after they are released, he said. While making these items, the inmates make sure they are updated with the market trends, people’s need. This year, they have added antique pieces, such as bangle stands, bicycles, bullock carts, etc to their exhibition. Supervisor Sangam Pandurang said that plant stands that they had implemented during the Raskha Bandhan exhibition were in a huge demand this time. “The demand for those flower pot stands was high… People told us that they loved those stands, all of which have been sold,” he said.
He added that inmates allotted under these different art forms are trained under one or two instructors for six months before they are allowed to work on any piece. Once they learn the craft, they are free to imagine whatever they want to create and instructors guide them in making their own creations.
Arti Shinde, Mahila Karagraha Vibhag instructor, said this year women inmates incorporated the waste from the paper and cloth to make Diwali lanterns along with long skirts and door mats. “We try to give the art inside them a form of expression. We only give them a direction. They are very smart and make some of the things on their own,” she said.