Let’s Safeguard the Endangered before Extinction!
Mumbai, 20th August, 2015- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” campaign is aimed at putting an end to gender selective abortions of female foetuses in India. This is done to remove the gender imbalance across many Indian States.
Women have always been worshipped in India like Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, but ironically today the same nation has chained down the women by various chains. Durga Puja is celebrated with lot of joy and excitement throughout the nation. This can be seen as a celebration of womanhood as nine forms of Durga are considered as forms of women power.
There have been examples where many organisations have taken up Durga Puja as a platform to extend their support to women power. A testimony of this comes from contemporary artist Camellia Suman’s impactful artwork to support the idea of women empowerment. His endeavour to decorate the 20 feet high sculpture of Goddess Durga put up by Pragati club on the side lines of Durga Puja celebrations depicts how women continue to face exploitation amidst raging discussions on women empowerment. The timing of this exhibition brings out the irony of the situation vividly.
Camellia has used the rare artform Dhokra to decorate the holy sculpture. Dhokra art is practised by the members of Dhokra Damar tribe, belonging to suburbs of West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Orissa. These tribal are traditional metal smiths of West Bengal and thus the art of lost wax casting is also named after the tribe. The Dhokra handicrafts are popular not only within the country but in foreign markets too. However, this rare artform is on the verge of extinction and currently practised by 57 families scattered across the Bengal region.
This encouragement for Dhokra art is an initiative taken by Pragati club, an active social organisation working in Mumbai through its Durga Puja at Fidai Baug. The club started its journey in 1963 under the guidance of legendary film director late Bimal Roy and is an active social organisation working in Mumbai.
The social commitment to conserve such art forms is extremely critical. If these artists receive stalls at relevant exhibitions and support for marketing their products, Dhokra art may get another lease of life. The artists under the banner of Pragati Club have pledged to donate sarees to 500 needy women and buy school bags for girl students from funds raised during the event.
N.C. Banerjee, the general sectary, of the club said, “We are glad to have been able to uplift this art and protect our heritage from extinction. Mumbaikars are known for their big hearts am sure they will accept the Dhokra artists and their products with open arms.”
“Let us all unite in the realm of creativity, let us all catch butterflies and paint the sky in smile.”
— CAMELLIA SUMAN
To know more about Camellia Suman Click Here