Surajkund, Faridabad 05 February 2015 :: Surajkund International Crafts Mela is the largest crafts fair in the world that offers an ideal platform for national and state awardee craftspersons, weavers and artistes to showcase their talent. The idea of hosting the Mela is to identify, nurture and preserve the heritage crafts of the country and to promote the pool of skilled artisans, who used indigenous technology, but were suffering due to the cheaper machine-made imitations.
In this age of technology, this Mela has been a custodian of our crafts and age-old traditions and indeed there is so much for future generations to gain and imbibe from this Mela. It offers an enlightening interface between the visitors and the practitioners of heritage crafts.
A special area has been earmarked for the display of heritage crafts. One step inside this area, one is elated to see the unique crafts and the way they are made. Ishwar. C Naik, a national award winner from Karnataka, is a Chittara artist stationed at Work Hut no. 956. Interestingly, Naik makes painting with a jute thread and colour made from rice paste, stone & fruit powder.
Tells Naik, “My paintings depict culture, tradition, conventions and lifestyle of Deevaru community akin to tribal community. Also, I capture elements from nature and astronomy in my paintings. The paintings come with a message that nature supersedes those who meddle with it.”
Naik, a true proponent of this art, has taken it further and does wall mural for houses and commercial properties. He adds, “My art is unique and through this Mela, I get an ideal platform to reach out to more people.”Mohammad Farooq, a state awardee and his father Haji Nasiruddin, national awadee and Ship guru award winner have brought a range of eye-catching brass items with gold & silver plating and oxidised & antique finishes at Work Hut no. 958.
Farooq says, “Ours is a heritage craft because very few now practise this kind of art, as it involves an elaborate process like lacquering, hammering, embossing and buffing. We keep innovating to sustain our art, which includes making new things for home décor like mirrors, stools, hanging lampshades, big-size vessels with latest designs and finishes.”
Farooq also claims that his brass items need no maintenance, “we use dipping & oxidising processes for plating, so that our products remain new forever.”
Artistic wood work from Uttarakhand has come to Mela by Mangal Singh and his son Rajinder Singh at Work Hut no 949. Tells Mangal, who is exhibiting at the Mela for the first time, “This is one of the oldest craft of our area practised to decorate the house like the front doors, windows and frames. Now we prepare an array of home décor items by carving pine bark and creating idols, photo frames and arty pieces.” Interestingly, they also chisel pieces of wood collected from river banks in different shapes and designs that are also here on sale.Mela offers an interface between craftspersons and online shopping portals
Keeping pace with Information & Technology (IT) advancement, Surajkund Mela Authority & Haryana Tourism have undertaken another novel initiative in which online shopping portals, namely snapdeal.com and flipkart.com, have come to Surajkund International Crafts Mela, Faridabad, to register the interested craftspersons for selling their stuff on these portals.
Sumita Misra, Managing Director, Haryana Tourism Corporation & Chief Administrator, Surajkund Mela Authority states that the main aim of Surajkund International Crafts Mela is to provide direct access to craftspersons, who come from distant parts of the country, and provide them access to a wider audience. Through an online shopping portal platform, the craftspersons will get access to a ready market round the year to sell their handmade and natural products.
The Snapdeal & Flipkart teams are present at the Surajkund Mela for assisting artisans/ craftspersons and are helping them to register as sellers.
Report & Photograph by Naresh Narula, Faridabad.