Skip to main content

Strengthening skill base for the Rural Craft & Cultural Hubs of Bengal

Bengal has historically held its title as the cultural capital of India. The Art & Craft traditions of Bengal are rich in content, varied in their styles, exhibiting all the hues of the rainbow in their finer nuances. Government of West Bengal’s Department of Micro Small Medium Enterprises & Textiles (MSME&T), with a vision of capitalising the cultural richness of the state for developing grassroot creative enterprises, undertook the Rural Craft Hub (RCH) project with 3000 crafts artists across Bengal from 2013 to 2016 in partnership with UNESCO. The project demonstrated how traditional art can be the epicentre of vibrant eco-systems that are self-sustaining. Buoyed by the success of RCH, MSME&T Dept.  and UNESCO initiated Rural Craft & Cultural (RCCH) project in late 2016 to reach out to 15000 people involved with folk and handicrafts in the state.

banglanatak dot com is the implementation partner for both RCH and RCCH project using our Art for Life (AFL) methodology. The methodology used for AFL has 3 main pillars, Capacity Building for improving the skill base, Direct Market Linkage and Exchange & Collaborations.

We just concluded a series of capacity building workshops in different rural locations of Bengal using Guru Shishiya Parampara with the objective of improving the basic skills. Each community and their traditional art form have specific needs. The capacity building workshops were designed to address the specific skill needs and gaps  with the objective of enhancing the market potential of the artists.

The mystical Bauls & Fakirs of Bengal underwent training under the local exponents on the form, content, style and presentation through enhancement of understanding of the underlying philosophical discourse, learning new songs for enriching their repertoire. Trainings were also organized for the instrumentalists of Baul-Fakiri music to enhance their skill aimed at qualitative improvement of the overall presentations. There were 750 participants in 7 workshops.

For training of Bhawaiya artists, the lifestyle music from north Bengal, 5 days workshops were organised at different centres of Alipurduar and Cooch Behar districts. A total 767 artists participated in the workshops and were trained to strengthen their renditions.

Chau, the masked martial art based acrobatic dance form of Purulia is inscribed in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2010. It represents a large skill base in the context of RCCH project objective. The Chau trainings targeted broadening the skill base further. A total 9 residential training workshops were held at Nimdih (a Gandhi Ashram at Purulia-Jharkhand border) to train a total 1345 artists. The trainings focused on improving the quality of performance.

The puppetry tradition of Bengal is in need of urgent safeguarding and revitalization. Increase in options of entertainment and lack of innovation and improvisation forced puppeteers of the state to explore other livelihood options of survival in the absence of adequate market. The Puppetry workshops thus introduced new stories for the puppet theatre which have been hinged on the traditional Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas. A total 37 participants from Bankura, Bardhaman and Nadia participated in the residential workshop at Tepantar (a theatre village in Bardhaman). 


Popular posts from this blog

Countdown begins for Sur Jahan 2018

Sur Jahan (literally meaning Music World) is a unique world peace music festival of India held in Kolkata and Goa every February with the motto “Music for Peace, Music for All”. The three-day event brings together artists and musicians from home and abroad to celebrate cultural diversity through world music and facilitate exchange of ideas and sharing of experiences with the explicit aim to bridge minds and spread the culture of knowledge, understanding and tolerance. Starting its journey as Sufi Sutra in Kolkata in 2011, it was renamed in 2017 to better reflect the wide range of music genres it curates. Artists from 26 countries and 12 Indian states have participated in the festival till date. Sur Jahan simultaneously showcases creations and performances of India’s rural artists and crafts persons. In doing so, it rekindles our people’s urge to revisit and take pride in their own folk cultural heritage. The array of rich and living traditions of performing folk arts on offer, right fro…

Swayangsiddha: Rallying youths to stop human trafficking & child marriage

In an era of fast forgotten news, the headline flew past in a flicker indeed, but it did leave behind a rare trail of courage and inspiration for thousands of girls, if not more, in West Bengal! Meena, a teenager from a non-descript village in the district of South 24 Parganas, was tricked and abducted by a woman she knew through one of her classmates and neighbour. Only days before, Meena, a Class 10 student, was lucky to have attended a session of Swayangsiddha – the awareness drive underway against human trafficking organized by the district police chief at her school. Memories came rushing back and she understood that she would be sold to ‘customers’ waiting in cities like New Delhi or Mumbai, if not any other faraway land. But Meena decided not to give in and realized that keeping her cool was the topmost priority at the moment. As her abductor and her associates tried to figure out her reaction and response at the shelter where she was kept at in Baruipur, a bustling town in he…

Woodworld Wonders

It was still spring and the lukewarm weather of North Bengal came as a welcome respite for Norwegian Eivind Falk and his two British companions Robin Wood and his daughter Jojo Wood. Walking down a dry mud track of Kushmandi in the district of Dakshin Dinajpur on a March afternoon in 2017, Robin said that the temperature at his home, a few miles from Birmingham, would be around minus four degrees Celsius at that time… “and it’s very, very wet too, with a constant drizzle and wind,” said Jojo. Eivind was smiling… after all he was here before — in 2016 to be precise.

The West Bengal government’s Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises & Textiles (MSME&T) had developed 10 Rural Craft Hubs (RCH) with 3,000 traditional handicraft artists in nine districts of the state between 2013 and 2016. The initiative was undertaken in partnership with UNESCO and the main purpose was to conserve and revive different forms of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of West Bengal. In Februar…