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Wednesday, Sep 04, 2002

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Stamp of elegance

Catch glimpses of Orissa's rich culture at the Great Orissa Arts and Crafts Mela, on at Sri Sankara hall till September 8.

ORISSA'S FABLED sari and textile wealth is the cynosure of all eyes at Utkalika's annual `The Great Orissa Arts and Crafts Mela', on at Sri Sankara Mini Hall, 267, TTK Road, Alwarpet.

Sambhalpuri, Katki, Behrampuri, Bomkai and Baraghat... each name spells a distinctive sari tradition. In woven cotton, silk and tussar, with beautiful borders and motifs, the creations reflect Orissa's culture.

From Vishnupadam ikkat cottons in vivid colours to the bordered elegance of Bomkais, tussars and rich silks woven with traditional themes and intricate borders... there is an eye-catching variety.

Also displayed is a range of Sambhalpuri ikkat yardage for salwar kameez ensembles and men's kurtas, as well as dupattas, besides bedspreads and tablecloths.

The mela is testimony to other facets of Orissa's rich craft tradition. Exquisitely crafted large red granite sculptures of gods and goddesses vie for attention with stunning artefacts such as dhokra work animals, boxes and candle stands, which have been designed by Ashok Kumar Das and crafted by tribal craftspersons.

Pipliwork, appliqued garden umbrellas, torans and wall hangings in auspicious colours of orange, saffron, yellow, red and green compel attention. Master craftsperson, Mohendra Mazhi's palm leaf engravings on wall hangings, panels, bookmarks and greeting cards are particularly attractive. His series on vignettes of tribal life on stiffened paper capture the ethos of tribal art. Patachitra scrolls done in natural colours are also on display along with small soft stone figurines and shell craft items.

Several craftspersons are holding demonstrations at the mela. One can see a wondrous ikkat pattern actually taking shape before one's eye, a palm leaf being engraved with great dexterity with stories from the epics, or golden grass turning into a utility box...

The Great Orissa Arts and Crafts Mela, which offers hefty discounts on all the items, ends on September 8.

PUSHPA CHARI

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