Hello readers! How have you been?
I couldn't keep away from Deezden and you guys
as I have so much of the blissful stuff
(read: sights and sounds from Kol) to share!
One of the wonderful things about winter in India is that melas are organized,
many of them showcasing handcrafted goodies,
art (folk and traditional) and sumptuous local street food.
We visited the Saras Mela 2010,
an exhibition of rural artisans from all over India.
It was such a treat for the senses -
I'll let the photographs do the talking.
Right outside the main entrance, there was
this cutest mustard-yellow painted bhelpuri mobile store.
In a way this cart symbolizes one of the biggest weaknesses
of my life, a k a, Kolkata street food!
The festive welcome decor was bursting with colour.
They have hung terracotta bell-shapes that
looked to me like locally used chai cups we call bhars.
The fair is choc-a-block with handcrafted jewellery and beads,
as you can see, a brilliant riot of colours....
taught me a thing or two about how to string and play it!
Leather handmade puppets from Andhra Pradesh,
we got home some delightful ones from the Ramayana series.
Handcrafted wooden toys from Bengal - unadulterated joy,
makes me wanna be a kid again whenever I see these.
Clay dolls in seemingly gaudy florescent colours,
wrapped in cellophane paper, included figurines of
a Bengali bride and groom, Hindu Gods and Goddesses,
freedom fighters and national heroes, saints,
even Charlie Chaplin and a certain
French blonde mademoiselle with her blue chapeau,
I heart them.
Wood-and-cloth puppets from Rajasthan -
in characters such as the snake charmer, the warrior,
the desert folk dancer, etc. in traditional costumes.
Then there were the handwoven and hand-embroidered
textiles from across the country. Here is one my favourite pieces from the fair:
Ikkat, the traditional handloom from Orissa,
this beautifully red piece bears Jagannath-ji in its delicate weave.
The hand embroidered shawls and jackets from Jammu & Kashmir
- wow craftsmanship, patterns and colours!
Each of these shawls take over a month to make.
This following stores from Rajasthan were filled with
adorable mobiles, decorations and bangles....
let me introduce to you some of the delightful artists
that I had the chance to meet at the fair and
share with you their gorgeous work.
A Madhubani artist stands in front of her display,
said she made art along with a group
of eleven other female artists from her village,
every day after the day's chores are all done.
Bravo ladies, for your dedication, talent,
hard-work and entrepreneurship.
made our visit super special. They have travelled all the way from Midnapur
after wrapping up the Pat-Maya Festival about a month ago.
Here is a photo of Tapan Chitrakar at work:
His daughter, a very bright young lady,
sings beautifully as she narrates one of her
father's compositions, titled ' The wedding of a (certain
Bengali) fish' in the traditional folk style.
Later on in the evening, she went up on stage and performed
in front of a large audience with her father's artwork.
The very talented Moyna Chitrakar is a feisty lady
who is carrying on her family tradition, against all odds.
(Moyna standing in the second photograph in front of
a painting made by her grandfather).
by her artist husband Maleek Chitrakar,
who always greets you with a smile and
very patiently explains the nuances of their compositions.
He did a beautiful narration of one of their
joint compositions, an ancient Bengali folk tale.
Art for these people is a way of life,
an invaluable heirloom that they fight to guard, nurture
and pass on to the next generation.
This is art that empowers, educates and inspires.
Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did making it.
Stay inspired, stay happy.