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A story of the hands that create art

The trust will be holding its first exhibition— The Handmade Collective — from November 24 where over 40 artisans and groups from across Karnataka and some who are travelling from as far as Kashmir, Rajasthan, Orissa and MP will participate.

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A story of the hands that create art
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“Working with your hands is instinctive and extremely satisfying. It has not become extinct but just lies dormant today,” says Mala Dhawan, founder trustee of A Hundred Hands, a not-for-profit trust that aims at providing a platform for artisans involved in the creation of contemporary, hand-crafted alternatives for daily usage.

The trust will be holding its first exhibition— The Handmade Collective — from November 24 where over 40 artisans and groups from across Karnataka and some who are travelling from as far as Kashmir, Rajasthan, Orissa and MP  will participate.

“Not only do we want to sensitise customers to the craft but also help them work with the craftsmen to create their own art. We’ll also be providing demonstrations to enable them to realise the amount of work that goes into this. So, they’ll participate in the process rather than being passive buyers,” says Dhawan.

The trust works as a support structure mainly for small and medium scale artisans, both rural as well as urban, who might otherwise lack exposure to the larger market. "Since there are no middlemen involved, it proves to be a more personalised and open exchange of ideas between the buyer and the seller," says Melissa Arulappan, member of the advisory committee.

The exhibition is unique as it seeks to recreate some of the rare, forgotten forms of handicrafts such as Aepan (painting with fingernails), Sanjhi paper cutting and Mughal handblock printing.

The trust built up its network of craftsmen mainly through word-of-mouth and exchange of e-mails. So what kind of response do they hope to receive through this exhibition?

“My husband and I have been practising quilling, the use of paper strips that are  rolled, shaped, and glued together to produce decorative designs, for over a year now. But, it is the first time we are going commercial with it. I do hope that people will like what we have in store for them,” says Angeline Pradhan, a participant.

Expressing the same enthusiasm, encaustic artist Arati Bedekar says that her work challenges her all the time. “Over the past five years, I have exhibited my work at many platforms, but this time, I hope that the buyers too participate as true lovers of art and take back something more than just a product,” she says.

Apart from this, there will also be a wide range of eco-friendly products, table ware, lamps, garden ware and murals.

Homemade delights such as pickles, jams and desserts are bound to get those taste buds tickling.

As part of the revival of forgotten traditions, makers of the Kabir project, a documentary that rediscovers the spirit of the poet Kabirdas, will also be interacting with the people.

The exhibition will be held between Nov 24-28 from 11 am to 7:30 pm at No 4, Ashley Road, behind Hotel Ajanta, Brunton Road

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