In Mumbai, A Unique Festival To Promote Art forms In India

Mumbai:  To celebrate the diverse forms of arts and crafts in India, Tata Trusts launched a two-day festival in Mumbai featuring lead performing artists and craftsmen, the organisers are looking to take that effort to the masses.

Kalapana festival will provide artists and craftsmen from India’s hinterland a much-needed platform to showcase talent, the organisers say.

Many fear artistic and cultural practices are at risk of disappearing due to rapid social changes and the inability of artists and artisans to make a living from them. Monuments, museums and archives of historical value in India have also been slowly decaying, due to a lack of interest in conserving them. But Tata Trusts is now looking to make art more and culture conservation more accessible and democratic with long term projects.

“The challenges in conservation are the lack of trained conservators. This is something we have identified and all our initiatives in the next three to five years are going to be in training conservators, whether its art conservation, heritage building conservation or film conservation,” says Deepak Sorabjee, Head of Media, Arts and Culture, Tata Trusts.

The participating performing arts organisations in the festival included Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts (Contemporary Dance) from Bangalore; Dhrupad Sansthan (Indian Classical Music) from Bhopal; and NINASAM (Theatre) from Shimoga District in Karnataka.

Artistic Director at Attakkalari, Jayachandran Palazhy told NDTV, “If you do not infuse our traditional performing arts with contemporary energy and idea it can get fossilized. What we lack is access to these rich traditions. This is one such example where dancers are learning the Chhau tradition from Orissa and Bengal.”

From initiatives to secure the livelihoods of crafts communities and make them sustainable to preservation and conservation of culture, the effort is to revive these arts. The festival showcased a carefully curated group of craft organisations who have worked passionately in remote areas to revive and contemporise some of India’s finest handicrafts. The organisers hope Kalapana will increase awareness among city dwellers about the traditional art and craft forms in India.

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