PUSHPA (Project for Upgradation of Skilled Handicrafts and Perishing Art Forms) a Non-Profit Organisation spearheaded by Mr. Vivek Varun Prasad, organised an exhibition of handicrafts made by artisans from various places in rural India at the Campion School Cooperage from 17th to 19th of February 2018.
The exhibition was a platform for artisans in rural India to showcase their handicrafts, which have been their speciality handed down by their forefathers and are now rapidly becoming a dying art form.
The whole concept of revival of such dying art-forms was conceived by Mr. Vivek Varun Prasad, whose childhood passion is traditional art in the form paintings or handicrafts. He is deeply pained to see that in the industrialised world of today, these art forms are on the verge of becoming extinct. Hence their revival and preservation are of great importance to as they are expressions of culture of India.
This first exhibition by PUSHPA was a myriad display of exquisite expressions of traditional crafts persons, displaying crafts as close in purity to as they were conceived decades ago by their forefathers.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Vivek Varun Prasad said “I have had this passion for art since childhood and have won awards for 5 consecutive years in Doon School, Dehradoon. However, the passion had to be kept in the background and was limited to making greeting cards for relatives and friends, in order to give my full attention to my Government job in the Income Tax department.
However, my passion was reignited after my retirement. I have since then researched, contacted and visited various artisans from all over the country and after curating their talent, I have invited some of them to display their products at this exhibition, which I have organised with the support of the Lalji Mehrotra Educational Trust, Mumbai, friends like Dr. Borges and the Campion school, who have been kind enough to give this space. The Khadi and Village Industries Board also assisted us in locating the artisans.”
“I am limited due to lack of resources and would be more than willing to work with other organisations to pool our strengths and resources for getting a better reach to all the artisans who are languishing in rural India because of funds and lack of a platform.”
The Exhibition showcased Coconut and bamboo craft, Banarasi weaves and Gujrati patolas, wooden carvings, warli paintings, traditional artificial jewellery designed and made by hand.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Maulik a graphic designer and working with NPO, PUSHPA, as project manager, said “PUSHPA was started in March 2017 with a vision to empower artisans to revive their art as it was decades ago with purity of the raw materials. We would love to get some funds from the CSR budgets of corporate houses. Our focus is on the ‘Artisans’ making them grow self-sufficient and revive their art by showcasing it to the world.”
“We are working with technology and digital marketing techniques including Facebook, WhatsApp etc. to spread the message - the write ups and photos of the final work of the artisans.”
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Maulik further added that its a challenging job to first identify and then meet the artisans and gain their trust that this NPO, PUSHPA is actually helping them and not going to take advantage out of them. We are a small team, with shoestring budgets and limited resources and therefore looking forward to getting some financial support from corporate houses in any form-like providing resources or CSR funds or buying handicrafts for giving away as gifts/ souvenirs, etc.”
The Exhibition comprised of 9 artisans who show cased their art form such as Mr Sanjay Parhad from Dahanu, the warli artist, Mr. Ramesh Date, craftsman working on bamboo and coconut shells, and seeds, another artisan Mr. Chetan Shet from Kumta, Karnataka showcased Wood carvings, and Mr. Kiran, Warli artist. Another artisan, Mr. Lavjibhai Vaghela was showcasing Silk hand embroidered patola sarees and Mr. Vivek Varun Prasad also showcased his creations of paintings of various Indian gods. Mr. Quasim Ansari from Banaras showed a variety of weaves in cotton and silk, Mrs Seema Thakur showed a variety of Maharashtrian jewellery, and Mr. Siyaram Patwa showcased Patwa art ( beads work ). '
The exhibition attracted a lot of visitors, who also purchased many of the handicrafts and artisans were given to keep the entire proceeds of the sales. The entire expenditure was borne by the NPO PUSHPA.
Encouraged by the success of this exhibition, Mr. Vivek Varun Prasad has decided that he is going to try and hold it again next year in a bigger form with more than double the artisans.