Indian Teenager’s Ambitious Documentary to Highlight Woes of Rajasthani Artisans
Recently, Padma Shri artisan Ram Kishore Chippa from Bagru municipality in Jaipur, Rajasthan, informed that dipping exports in the recent years were forcing the community to retreat to professions that granted them a livelihood because their art was not.
India is no stranger to fashion! Since times immemorial, fashion has manifested itself into the India fabrics in the form of color, print, design or drape. History is a witness to the same. In its more modern avatar, fashion is something every Indian relates to at some level or another. No doubt that the leaders in this field remain the Bollywood divas, Indian Maharanis, or petite models, but the contribution of artisans from across the country remains unparalleled in sustaining age-old techniques of embroidery, dyeing, printing and stitching. One such group of artisans belongs to Rajasthan, and they have created wonderful artwork in fabric that is colorful, intricate and mesmerizing at the same time. The garments embellished with Chipa work, mirror work, needle work, etc has brought joy to many faces over the past decades. But their story just got a whole lot sadder!
As exports continue to dip owing to a lengthy pandemic, Rajasthani artisans are slowly losing grip over their art. Since manufacturers as well as exporters take a step back because of dwindling export demand, these workers, some of whom are involved in creating beautiful Rajasthani work like Gota-Patti, Bandhani, etc, for the past 4 generations, are now finding it hard to carry on. Most of the artisans are shifting to other professions, leaving their ancestral handmade art to die a slow death.
Recently, Padma Shri artisan Ram Kishore Chippa from Bagru municipality in Jaipur, Rajasthan, informed that dipping exports in the recent years were forcing the community to retreat to professions that granted them a livelihood because their art was not. Skilled artisans are thus facing hardships in order to sustain their art but they have help at hand in the form of several NGOs as well as individuals who are now devising means to take this art to the world, once again, and bring in the money.
Talking about the traditional Rajasthani work of gota-patti, every Indian teenage girl worth her salt could share a thing or two of this fashionable fabric item from her wardrobe. One such young girl, a teenager still, is Devanshi Bhandari, who wants to give back to the Rajasthani artisan community what it has lost due to dipping exports. Devanshi is keen to create a more sustainable form of the traditional Rajasthani art of “Gota-Patti” work.
She is on a mission to gather more information and build a common connection with this age-old tradition, which has highly influenced Indian fashion for a long time. For this, she is in the process of shooting a documentary, which will show her interactions with the artisans to understand their situation. The mainstay of this documentary will be that Devanshi aims to create a garment inspired by the Gota-Patti work, which would be made from scratch locally, be it weaving, dyeing or stitching. She basically wants to design a gown out of this artwork and this she wants to do in order to make the world aware of its beauty.
Devanshi, who is an avid writer herself, and sees herself as a fashion journalist or a brand communication manager in the future, shall be travelling to Jodhpur and neighboring villages to source material for this Gota-Patti gown and also document the whole process right upto the creation of the final garment. She wants to pair it with some nice Rajasthani traditional jewelry before finishing her project. Devanshi’s ambitious documentary is going to be a unique interpretation of a serious problem and, hopefully, it will also bring out a solution to the woes of thousands of Rajasthani artisans who are currently dealing with lack of business.
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