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Tribal art and craft mesmerises PM Modi, G20 leaders and delegates

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacting with one of the artisans in the Crafts Bazaar organised during the G20 Summit in Bharat Mandapam in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite his hectic and busy schedule of attending different sessions at the G20 Summit in New Delhi and his one-to-one meetings with the world leaders participating in the meet, found time to visit the Crafts Bazaar organised at Bharat Mandapam in Pragati Maidan.

Curated and organised by Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India and the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, the exhibition showcased India’s varied and rich tribal heritage and craftsmanship. The exquisite products, handcrafted by different tribal artisans hailing from diverse regions of the country became the centre of attention for the delegates.

One of the highlights of this show was a live demonstration by Padma Shri Pareshbhai Jayantibhai Rathwa who presented the Pithora Art. Rathwa, who hails from Gujarat’s Chhota Udaipur district is a master of this art which dates back to 12,000 years.

There are several exhibits that were immediately noticed by the visitors and generated immense interest among them.

The characteristic grey-black cooking pots, the stout kettles, quaint bowls, mugs and nut trays, many of them with fine cane handles drew a large audience. Named after Manipur village Longpi, no potter’s wheel is used to make them. All shaping is done with the hand and with the help of moulds.

Longpi Pottery
Made without using a potter’s wheel, Longpi pots, kettles, mugs and trays are handmade (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@rangroute)

Imagine a simple one-handed twirl creating melodious music. That is what Chhattisgarh’s Wind Flutes do. These sulur bamboo wind flutes are made by the Gond tribe of Bastar, in Chhattisgarh who craft them by meticulously selecting the bamboo, drilling holes in them and then etching the surface with fish emblems, geometric lines, and triangles. It aids the men to ward off animals when they take their cattle through forests.

Chhattisgarh Wind Flutes
Chhattisgarh wind flutes are made after meticulously selecting bamboo and drilling holes in them (Pic. Courtesy PIB)

Another offering by Gonds that was an instant hit were their intricate paintings, reflecting this tribe’s deep connection with nature and tradition. These works tell stories that resonate with art enthusiasts worldwide and are made using unique techniques. The artists start with dots, calculating image volume, which they then connect to form outer shapes filled with vibrant colours.

Home décor created by the Bhil and Patelia tribes in Dahod, Gujarat included wall and door hangings, dolls and cradle birds. These are made of cotton cloth and stuffing which are recycled material look elegant with the use of mirror work, zari, stones and beads. This ancient art form of Gujarat hangings has evolved to suit contemporary fashion while preserving tradition.

Gujarat Hangings
This ancient form of Gujarat hangings has evolved to suit contemporary fashion and tastes while preserving tradition (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@InfoGujarat)

Using pure sheep wool, the members of the Bodh, Bhutia and Gujjar Bakarwal tribes from Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir fashion a diverse range of apparel, from jackets to shawls and stoles. These are made on hand-operated looms with four pedals and stitching machines, have intricate diamond, plain, and herringbone patterns.

The Araku Valley Coffee from Andhra Pradesh got instant attention for its unique flavour, rich aroma and unmatched purity. Grown organically in Araku Valley, the farmers are meticulous in growing them right from harvest to pulping and roasting resulting in Araku Valley Arabica Coffee.

Rajasthan enchanted the delegates and visitors through its Meenakari art. It is an art of decorating metal surfaces with vibrant mineral substances, a technique introduced by the Mughals. Requiring exceptional skill, in this artisan etches delicate designs onto metal, creating grooves for colours to nestle in. Each hue is fired individually, creating intricate, enamel-adorned pieces.

Meenakari is the art of decorating metal surfaces with vibrant mineral substances (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@my_rajasthan)

Also read: Indian tribal art makes big impact at G20 summit