Daughter No 1 was in town and wanted to visit the Bhau Daji Lad Museum at Byculla. For those of you who don’t know it, this is a delightful museum city museum located in, of all the places, Mumbai’s zoo ! Long before it became famous and fashionable, my daughters and I would regularly visit this quaint museum with its collection of things from everyday life. (I actually used to think it was a repository for other people’s junk till it was lovingly restored under the able stewardship of Ms. Tasneem Mehta, the museum’s current Director).
The Museum organises several cultural events and this weekend was our last chance to see handicrafts made by artisans and craftsmen from India.
Now we all know that a handicrafts exhibitions is a pseudonym for tacky, crude and often poorly made artefacts but this exhibition was different : the stalls had exquisite stuff, well finished and designed with a modern sensibility and an aesthetic that makes you proud to know that they are MADE IN INDIA. They weren’t just objects, but things of beauty that took your breath away.
I particularly loved the lamps and decorative items made by Jagadish of Jaggusays. Made out of material like dried leaves , onion skin and pencil shavings, his artistic creations have another worldliness about them with their delicate and fragile beauty.
I can go on and on about all the exquisite pieces that I saw. These craftsmen had come from all over India and were hoping to make a little money on objects that had taken hours to make.
How many hours must go into these handicrafts so lovingly made with skills that have been passed on and nurtured through generations? Many of these craftsmen have children who want to abandon their traditions and go on to getting an education that will make them “employable” and land up either as clerks or low level office staff. I want to go out and tell them NOT to turn their backs on what is so obviously a God givenskill. Don’t you think these crafts deserve to be protected, nurtured and kept alive? Don’t these people’s talent deserve recognition and due value?
Sadly, in our homes these days, utility and practicality have replaced beauty with plastic and mass produced .
Isn’t this a shame?
I’m linking this up with #Monday Musings on The Bespectacled Mother