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Trendy craftware

The handicrafts exhibition at the Sooryakanthi grounds in the city is worth a dekko.


THE ONGOING handicrafts and textile exhibition, being organised as part of the annual Nishagandhi festival in the city has unfolded Indian excellence in handicrafts such as miniature paintings, bone carving, inlay patchwork on wood.

Craftsmen from all over India have displayed their exhibits here. The 120 stalls set up at the handicrafts exhibition at the Sooryakanthi grounds. The stall set up by Zerowaste, a non-governmental organisation at Kovalam, has come up with a range of their eco-friendly products. Paper bags, toys painted with natural dyes and chemical free soaps are part of the exhibits. "These bags, made of paper and cloth can carry weight up to 10 kg," says Shibu K. Nair of Zerowaste.

Chandra Kishor Dey from Uttar Pradesh has brought his herbal footwear. He claims the footwear will cure rheumatic pain and heart diseases. L. C. Varma from Agra has come to the festival with his glass artefacts. Cute little birds and animals made of glass are wooing customers.


The box-shaped key chains with little snakes and insects made of rubber or wood have many takers as they cost just Rs. 10. Toys made of whitewood reveal the expertise of the craftsmen from Andhra Pradesh.

The carvings in coconut husk by Ramabhadran, who hails from Kollam, are another attraction of the exhibition. A wine bottle covered with coconut husk, three monkeys (a set) made of coconut husk and woodcarvings reflect Ramabhadran's artistic skill. Puppets in the shape of elephants and horses worth Rs. 500 can add colour to your décor. Sculptural painting a rather new exhibit as claimed by artist Pardeep Mehta of Punjab depict villages of Punjab, Lord Buddha and tribal women. The sunrise and other sculptural paintings too have captured the attention of the handicraft lovers. The thread work on paper portraying men, Lord Ganesha, parrots too is a novel attempt by the craftsmen of Andhra Pradesh. Waterproof cardboard paintings of Micky Mouse and other cartoon characters are also available. Bindu Thoshib's metal embossing works have caught many an eye. Metal ornaments (five pieces in a set) are priced at Rs. 300, while décor items made of shells, coconut bags and table mats made of palm leaves form part of the exhibits at the stall put up by the craftsmen from Tamil Nadu. Syed Haider Agha from Lucknow is there at the exhibition with chiffon saris and salwar kameezes. The saris are priced between Rs. 5000 and Rs. 15,000. Sculptures in brass and silver-coated brass dishes have been brought all the way from Uttar Pradesh.

If you have been scouring for ethnic artefacts to jazz up your home, you could head for the stalls selling some exquisite Madhubani paintings from Bihar, metal wall hangings from Bhuj, leather items from Tamil Nadu, straw pictures and horn products from `God's Own Country'.


Most of the craftsmen seem to be disappointed with the low turnout of customers. Kausar Ahmed from Karnataka who is here with his agarbatis (incense sticks) says, "If this exhibition is extended for a few more days, it will be of great help to us." "The craftsmen exhibit very cute artefacts. I bought a bag for my daughter and a key chain for my friend," says Dr. B. Ekbal, Vice-Chancellor, Kerala University.

Dr. Ekbal expresses happiness about the initiatives taken by the Government to promote handicrafts. "All the exhibits here are made locally. This gesture to promote craftsmen at a juncture when globalisation devours up their livelihood, is extremely appreciable," he says. "I will try to buy as many things as possible," he adds.

The eight-day long exhibition held under the aegis of the Department of Tourism, Kerala, will conclude on April 12.

KALA K.

Photo: S. Mahinsha
Graphic: R. Dinesh Rajan

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