Jaya Jaitly, Founder & President of Dastkari Haat Samiti presents AKSHARA: Crafting Indian Scripts at India Habitat Centre (IHC), Lodhi Road > 10am-8pm on 16th-21st September 2012

Dastkari Haat Samiti Jaya Jaitley Exhibition Akshara
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Time : 10:00 am - 8:00 pm

Entry : Free

Place : Visual Arts Gallery & Open Palm Court Gallery, India Habitat Centre (IHC), Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003
Parking : Gate No. 1 to 3 ( Cars ), Gate No. 2 ( Bikes & Bicycles )
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Event Details : Jaya Jaitly, Founder and President of Dastkari Haat Samiti presents AKSHARA: Crafting Indian Scripts. The ambitious project has worked with 58 producer-groups, 13 languages and scripts and 15 craft, textile and art forms, covering 16 states of India

Highlight : Crafting Indian scripts

The Dastkari Haat Samiti is a not-for-profit national association consisting of and working for the economic and social development of traditional crafts people. The Dastkari Haat Samiti was established in 1986 and is considered to be one of the eminent craft organizations in the country. It has been recognized and supported in its work by different ministries of the Government of India, the United Nations office in India, UNESCO in India, the World Bank in India, and major corporate sector groups for specific projects.
Through a unique and innovative design development project, combined with a high quality exhibition called AKSHARA: Crafting Indian Scripts, the Dastkari Haat Samiti brings together craftsmanship and calligraphy, i.e. the art of beautifying script. It proposes to highlight the importance of Saaksharta throughout India by giving it a new dimension and meaning through skills practiced by its crafts people.
The film is in black and white since our colour theme is according to paper and ink. Six dancers explore movements, connected with the flow that is seen when a calligrapher writes. The music is classical but in a contemporary and slightly abstract form. It is a jugalbandi of sorts in which so many similarities are discovered in the act of creativity in dance and writing. Navtej Johar and Justin McCarthy have choreographed it. Justin has put together the music and Rajeev Kumar is the calligrapher. Kalpana Subramaniam is the film maker.
“Saaksharta, or literacy, is crucial to India’s development. To be able to read and write, and thus improve communication skills, is one of the greater liberating experiences for any human being. As India moves towards greater literacy, particularly among women, the use of scripts, the shape of the written word, the visual cadence of a sentence, the curve of a line in a letter of an alphabet, all come into unconscious focus in the creative mind’s eye. An aesthetically fascinating vista appears on a page, finally making sense to the newly literate reader. The rural artisan feels a sense of inadequacy without the knowledge of English or the computer. Dastkari Haat Samiti seeks to address this issue in a pioneering manner”, says Jaya Jaitly.
The exhibition of over 140 museum-worthy exhibits will be mounted at the Visual Arts Gallery. The ambitious project has worked with 58 producer-groups, 13 languages and scripts and 15 craft, textile and art forms, covering 16 states of India. The exhibition will showcase India’s great written heritage by focusing on the art of calligraphy in multi-faceted and innovative ways by linking the art of calligraphy and design. It will provide the crafter with a new range of designs that incorporates the ancient with the contemporary. Dastkari Haat Samiti has been working on this project for more than 3 years. 
AKSHARA seeks to bring into public consciousness the knowledge and beauty residing in India’s regional scripts through the talents of highly skilled, but often unlettered, craftspeople. With this in view, AKSHARA was presented at Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai in 2010 at its Crafts Bazaar as the first draft version of a pioneering and unique project on Calligraphy in Crafts.  The idea of the exhibition was to explore public reaction to the idea of Akshara and crafts created by continuous interaction between the Dastkari Haat Samiti and many craftspeople.  The extremely positive response to a modest in-house effort has encouraged the Dastkari Haat Samiti to take this exhibition to a national and international level, particularly since agencies like UNESCO are expressing great concern about of the disappearance of many languages across the world.

A 6 day design development workshop on calligraphy was conducted at Indian Social Institute on 6th to 12th October ’11. Skilled crafts people were explained the concept behind calligraphy and how it can be applied to various regional scripts.   New designs were evolved on paper and produced over the following three months using calligraphy. They were drawn upon the visual strength of India’s regional scripts and were translated onto a range of products in natural materials with traditional craft skills. Senior Graphic designers and Craft designers assisted in translating regional scripts into aspects of contemporary design.

Art forms that were developed and will be on display at Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi

Shabir Ali Beigh, Mehboob Ali Beigh and Gulam Mohammad Beigh, Kani sozni embroidery - Jammu & Kashmir – Urdu
Madhubani - Bihar - Devanagari - Ambika Devi
Kavad - Rajasthan - Devanagari - Satyanarayan Sutar
Sanjhi – Uttar Pradesh - Devanagari - Ram Soni
Leather painting - Andhra Pradesh -Telugu - Sindhe Sreeramulu
Clay work -Tamil - Tamil Nadu - Palaniswamy and Adil Writer
Silver work - Rajasthan - Malayalam - Kannada - Bengali - Vishal Khandelwal
Wood and lacquer work - Karnataka - Kannada - Noor Salma
Stone carving – Odissa - Odiya - Sheshadev Sahu
Shibori - Delhi - Bodhi - Mura Collective
Zari embroidery and wood block carving - Delhi - Urdu - Mohd Ayub and Mohd Waris
Papier mache art - Jammu & Kashmir - Urdu - Fayaz Jaan
Jharna Patachitra painting - Bengali - West Bengal - Radha Chitrakar

An art book called Akshara: Crafting Indian Scripts highlighting the use of Indian scripts on crafts in the past, cataloguing the exhibits of the Akshara exhibition, and honouring the unknown calligrapher who paints walls and film posters will be published by Niyogi Books to coincide with Akshara. It is written by Jaya Jaitly and Subrata Bhowmick, who also designs the book. It is sponsored by Tata Steel will also complement the exhibition.

The adjoining Palm Court Gallery at the India Habitat Centre will host the interactive part of AKSHARA.

The activities include an art film on combining choreography and calligraphy with dancers Navtej Johar and Justin McCarthy and calligrapher Rajeev Kumar. It is a jugal bandi between bharatanatyam dancers and a calligrapher to explore links in flow and form between the body and the pen. It also examines dimensions of the special Indian ‘language’ of dance.

Angarag Mahanta, a popular musician who sings Assamese folks songs in a contemporary style, very popular on “Coke Studio” is expected to perform during the exhibition. Qawwals too will grace the occasion with performances to demonstrate the variety of Indian regional languages.

Akshara has been conceived by Jaya Jaitly, founder-president of the Samiti All the exhibits have been commissioned and curated by Jaya Jaitly. The AKSHARA exhibition will maintain the highest standards of excellence in its product development and presentation. It is designed to travel easily across the country to different states so that people can appreciate their own regional scripts in a new way. Taken abroad, it will highlight the artistic potential of calligraphy in India which has 13 languages.

Related Events : Exhibitions
Jaya Jaitly, Founder & President of Dastkari Haat Samiti presents AKSHARA: Crafting Indian Scripts at India Habitat Centre (IHC), Lodhi Road > 10am-8pm on 16th-21st September 2012 Jaya Jaitly, Founder & President of Dastkari Haat Samiti presents AKSHARA: Crafting Indian Scripts at India Habitat Centre (IHC), Lodhi Road > 10am-8pm on 16th-21st September 2012 Reviewed by DelhiEvents on Friday, September 21, 2012 Rating: 5

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