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A Happy boost for Artisans-in-Residence
SHWETA SHARMA  1st Apr 2012

A Happy boost for Artisans-in-Residence

appy Hands Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works towards reviving Indian arts, crafts and cultures, has launched Artists-in-Residence. It is a programme that gives artisans from remote corners of the country an opportunity to explore and develop their artistic traditions through innovative and creative processes.

"There are a lot of galleries and art-residencies across the country — but none that focus solely on rural artisans, and definitely none that train them in designing. At our residency, for the first time, artisans will go through the basic concepts and elements of design, and will be subjected to jury exhibits. Their presentation skills will be worked upon, so they can interact with their audiences better. During this time, we'll allot some time for public workshops, and encourage them to take up one industry project as well," says Medhavi Gandhi, director, Happy Hands Foundation.

The residency, that starts April 5, will include concepts of basic design, material exploration, packaging and developing concepts, while also focusing on marketing, exhibit design, and visual merchandising. It aims at preparing the artisans for the market, professional collaborations, the arts sector and opportunities in other countries.

"The main idea is to have artists recognise other opportunities and possibilities in the art sector and not look at 'selling' as being the only medium to earn. If they're comfortable with just selling, then we want to make it sustainable for them by empowering them to design by themselves. There is also a need to make them aware about creative rights and we would be having a session dedicated to the same," explains Gandhi.

This 25-day residency, the first in the series that the organisation plans to conduct throughout the year, will host four artists selected on the basis of their high skill levels and their potential to impact their community. These artists will hold workshops on art forms like Madhubani, Saura, Cherial and Chittara.

"Apart from Cherial, all the arts have originated as wall-paintings mainly done for celebrating something. Saura depicts the life of tribals while Cherial narrates stories of the Mahabharata and Ramayana on scrolls. It would be interesting to see how these arts come together, and while retaining their traditional relevance, how they would create 'new' designs. In the future, we'll explore textiles and other craft/art forms," Gandhi adds.

The residency will culminate in a five-day exhibition at The People's Project Studio, Saidulajab, Saket.

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