RE-TELLING HANDMADE TALES OF
FEATURED ALUMNUS NISHIT SANGOMLA (YEAR 2016-17)
“If our traditional arts are lost, we have forgotten a part of who we are”
India’s diverse traditional arts and crafts define its rich and varied heritage and they are glimpses of how beautifully
skilled our artists are. But, will the age old traditions survive the modern ages? Finding answers to this, SBI Youth for India fellow – Nishit Sangomla decided to work with the artists in Rajasthan who essentially excelled in making handicraft items. He did an extensive research on them with the support of our partner NGO, Barefoot College Though a Chemical Engineer from NIT, Trichy and a former employee of Reliance Industries Limited. Despite no prior experience in business or handicraft, he worked with Barefoot’s Hatheli Sansthan and helped them create a structure that provides maximum support to artists. Together with Hatheli, he conducted exhibitions that helped their products reach out to a higher range of customers. He has been working on marketing and designing of the handicrafts as his fellowship project.
“There is so much we learnt when we started exploring more. We have identified jewellery makers, hand-woven basket makers,
ell makers, ‘namdas’ – a woollen blanket maker and gadiya lohars – hand-made iron products and so on. We realized there were so many diversified art forms but each one of them are feared to be lost”
said Nishit Sangomla
POST – FELLOWSHIP
Nishit, is one of the alumni who decided to stay back in the development sector after his 13-month stint. He is currently working with Barefoot College’s Hatheli Sansthan and taking his fellowship project forward.
ARTISTS OF BARMER
– THE LAST VILLAGE ON THE INDIAN SIDE OF THE INDO-PAK BORDER
In a tryst for finding more artists, Nishit landed in the small hamlet of Barmar. Here, the artists are well known for the patch work and embroidery they do on bed sheets, blankets, home decor and clothes. But, due to lack of opportunities, younger enerations had moved to different occupations and the ones left were old-aged. He had accompanied the NGO staff to conduct health and eye check-up camps for artists when they spoke to 50 odd artists. Each one had a different yet inspiring story. They do not want their art to die with them but the remaining few have very less resources left to save their heritage.
“After talking to these artists and listening to their stories, traditional art did not just mean a product to me. It was a story of each of these artists, it was our history which needed to be preserved. Working for traditional arts meant working for mpowerment in the truest sense”
“EMPLOYMENT TO EMPOWERMENT”
FEATURE FELLOW SALONI SANCHETI(YEAR 2017-18)
If you visit the villages of Dangs, Gujarat; you will find the tribal families handcrafting Bamboo into different utility products.
This traditional art inspired Saloni Sancheti, a lawyer by profession, to take forward a project started by a previous year fellow, Shruti N. She had motivate artists to use their skills with Bamboo to make jewelry designs Though not from the designing ackground, Saloni further helped the community to make newer designs and market them in exhibitions across the country.
The community now, has named their social initiative as ‘Bannsuli‘ – a venture to uplift the tribal Bamboo artists of Dangs.