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Tribal chic

The ongoing North East Crafts fair is replete with interesting handicrafts with something for all pockets.


A CUSP situation prevails, in the cultural sphere of the North East. They combine the best of what lies to the west, south and north of them, regardless of which state or country lies there, for culture knows no man-made barriers. They are people-oriented, not politically inclined. Thus you have the Chinese ingenuity coupled with the rich traditional history of the Indian subcontinent pervading the objects d'art displayed by the North Eastern artisans at the TDM hall, in the city. The petite Arunachal and Assamese grace and the English polish of Meghalaya folks gained from missionaries form the cultural mosaic from the North East.

Thus the Manipuri Krishnas, Gopis and the Shivas have facial features akin to the Buddha. The raw materials available in their land, cane, reed and bamboo, become pretty, useful art pieces in their deft hands. The cane chairs and baskets are nothing new to Kochiites, but most welcome nevertheless. The bamboo sofa is a new entrant. Ethnic chic coexists with native simplicity in the reliefs sculpted by Tripura artisans. Tribal faces, Ganeshas and Shivas are carved on thick, cream-coloured bamboo roots, with some parts of the root still intact. This gives it an irresistible exclusivity. "This is a tribal art," says Bimal Bishwas, who sells these carvings at Rs. 350 a piece. Citywallahs are grabbing the dry flowers (look out for them at the next Fruit and Flower show!) while eyeing the cane magazine holders.

The Naga memorabilia will add zing to the drawing room while Assamese silk saris are for those with bulging purses. The shawls, highly representative of the North East, are available in plenty and you can see them being made too, courtesy the demo by two dainty Assamese ladies. The Naga necklaces, cane bangles, hair clips, reed chairs, bamboo trays et al surely deserve a dekko.

This North East Crafts fair sponsored by the Development Commissioner Handicrafts, Govt of India, Ministry of Textiles is organised by Chennai branch of the Purbashree Emporium and is on till January 30.

PREMA MANMADHAN

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