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Bhubaneswar: Curtains came down on the National Tribal Art and Craft Mela at the Tribal Museum here Thursday. Around 6,000 people visited the fair on the last day. The fair was organised by the SC and ST Research and Training Institute. The participants were presented Soura and Gond paintings as a token of appreciation by the SC and ST RTI. Art and craft identify tribes.So it is not surprising that tribal artistes left no stone unturned to mesmerise visitors with their skills at the fair. The Dhokar craft from Mayurbhanj caught the attention of many. Stall owner artiste Hadibandhu Nayak, 40, displayed things like candle stands, adivasi sets (adivasi people in standing position), tribal dance groups, money box and animals, Hindu gods and goddesses etc. Nayak said his goods were priced between Rs 80 and Rs 2,500.
Nayak who belongs to the Bathudi tribe said, “The state is supporting artistes like me and we are given special training to create innovative things. The government is also providing tools for making craft items. Melas are another source of income. I made a profit of around Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000 this year.” Artistes from Nabarangpur stunned visitors with their products made of paddy grains. They exhibited things like Hindu deities, peacocks, elephants, flowers and other things made with paddy grains. A three-feet tall Ganesh made with paddy grains attracted many. Sukanya Das, a resident of Nayapali, said, “I purchased earrings made of paddy grains. It is beautiful. The price was also affordable.” Speaking to Orissa POSTcraftsman Ram Chandra Munda said, “Every item takes a lot of time to make. To create a small item we require three days. First we sew paddy grains on to a stick and later we put it into water to make it flexible.
Then we give different shapes to the sticks.” The Lohar tribe’s iron products and Tripura’s handicrafts also grabbed a lot of attention. Miniature animals made from iron were a big crowd puller. The figures were small but looked beautiful. Animals like goats, tigers, dogs and cows were created on the spot by artisans. These small items are easy to display in the corner of a house. It will make rooms beautiful, said Krutibash Ojha, a buyer. Mukesh Biswakarma, a blacksmith from Chattisgarh said, “We collect unused iron from workshops and give it new shape. We always try to do something new for customers. We have carved many designs on the bow. They can display it at home.”
Artiste Devlal Tekam of Andhra Pradesh who exhibited Gond paintings was quite conscious of his culture. When asked to do modern paintings Devlal replied, “I can’t do other paintings as they are alien to my culture. It will also destroy my culture. Our generation will continue traditions.” Tekam’s paintings on cloth canvas spoke about his tribe’s ways of life. The paintings portrayed their ways of worshipping, eating, dwelling places and wild animals.
Tekam, 32, said it takes around nine days to do a painting on a ¾ inch canvas. Many tribal artistes gave live demos. A 55-year-old woman was seen making thread out of Tussar. Artistes from Chhattisgarh exhibited designer iron products. Items made with bamboos were also demonstrated live.
The SC and ST Research and Training Institute’s curator Purusattam Patnaik said, “Every year we bring new tribal crafts and products to this expo. A tribe called ‘Cholanaickan’ from Kerala was invited to this fair. It is a very primitive group which dwells in the interior forests of Kerala.” “The mela witnessed around 5,000 footfalls on an average every day. We also managed a turnover of Rs 12 lakh,” Patnaik added
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