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An Oriya odyssey

SOUVIK CHOWDHURYSOUVIK CHOWDHURY

The distinctive artistic skill of the Oriya artisan is reflected in every piece at the ongoing Orissa handloom expo at Y.M.C.A, Secunderabad.



GOOD EARTH: The idols in terracotta make perfect gifts.

IF YOU thought it is just about Jagannath-Puri, Nandita Das and cyclones, Y.M.C.A, Secunderabad might just have enough reasons to redefine your opinion.

The ongoing handicrafts exhibition showcases the lesser-known Orissa - its time-honoured fertile culture, the exquisite art forms amidst a classic diversity of traditions and an equally vibrant and colourful community steeped in heritage.

The Oriya bouquet has been brought to town for the first time ever by ORUPA (Orissa Rural and Urban Producers' Association) in collaboration with the Central Ministry of Handlooms, New Delhi.



SYMPHONY IN STONE: Soap stone idols are an attraction.

From the world-famous Sambhalpuri and Maniabhandha saris to the traditional Dhokra art form on liquefied brass, golden grass work to the intricate palm-leaf engraving, each piece - irrespective of size or shape, is an objet d'art, painstakingly done with an unmatched degree of patience and innovation.

The distinctive artistic skills of the artisans of Orissa are reflected in every piece.

"Oriya artefacts and handicrafts are unique worldwide. It is only because of lack of awareness and exposure that few people know of our rich art forms. ORUPA envisions the integrated development of local artisans by creating opportunities and avenues for the development of crafts and artisans of Orissa," says ORUPA coordinator N.K Bhuyan.

Archetypal to Pipili, a remote village in Puri - the appliqué wall hangings (priced between Rs 20 and Rs 300), speaks amply of the vibrancy and flamboyance of Oriya culture.

The distinctive style of embroidery of the Darji community, particularly in the umbrellas (available for Rs 50 to Rs 400) can enliven your garden or beach parties. The terracotta jewellery and artefacts would add a touch of earth to any outfit.

And the tussar paintings or patta chitra have a similar prowess to doll up the house.



LIGHT UP: Applique work for a splash of colour. — Photos: P.V. Sivakumar

The intricate palm-leaf engravings focusing on mythology and kamashashtra speak of the dexterity and vigour of its creator.

"To capture public interest and expose our artisans, we even have live demonstrations of creation of the exhibits through the day," concurs Bhuyan.

The brass and bell-metal utensils and relics, produced by the Kansari community of Orissa can be used at home as well as for decorative purposes. Future designs include a corporate gift range and semi-utilitarian items.

Woodcraft, horn craft, paper-mache, stonework, coconut fibre-work and Tara Kashi (fine silver-thread work) are the other crafts making their presence felt. Amongst saris and dress materials are the famed Red silk from Maniabandha, Bomkai from Boudha and Pasapalli from Samhalpur.

Check out the abounding art forms from the land of the Sun God. And do not forget to pick up a replica of the Konark wheel, amongst others, to remind you of the land - which has so much more to offer. The exhibition concludes on January 16.

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