The Crafts Council of India Chennai's store, Kamala, celebrates two years with a special exhibition

Get ready to see some of the finest handmade jewellery, home decor and utility products, made using the ancient art form of dhokra

Nandita Ravi Published :  25th January 2019 03:44 PM   |   Published :   |  25th January 2019 03:44 PM
Dhokra at CCI's Kamala

Dhokra at CCI's Kamala

Kamala, named after the founder of CCI, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, provides a platform for traditional artisans to display their crafts and weaves from all across India. Executive Committee Member of The 
Crafts Council of India, Jayasri Samyukta Iyer adds, “The emphasis is on specially curated products, developed during the course of CCI’s direct and deep interaction with artisan clusters in villages and communities across India.” Sure enough, for the second anniversary, Kamala has on display 44 unique dhokra -ware products, crafted by 14 artisans from Dariapur and Bikna villages of West Bengal. 

CCI dhokraware
Intricate dhokra art

Dhokra is a 4,000-year-old bell metal casting method using the lost wax technique which continues to be a living tradition in West Bengal, Odisha and Chattisgarh. “One of the earliest known lost-wax artefacts is the familiar dancing girl of Mohenjodaro,” offers Jayasri. 

Indigenous to Central and East India, dhokra art is done by hollow casting, using a clay core, unlike the solid wax core employed in South India. The master craftsmen of dhokra make religious deities, human and animal figures and utensils, which is usually on display at their local markets. “Every dhokra product on display at Kamala has the exquisite aesthetic quality, surface textures and the magic of West Bengal’s ancient craft,” says Jayasri, adding that one can expect to find a range of delicately crafted lamp shades, exquisite table stands, vases and pretty jewellery pieces.

CCI dhokraware

In its 10th year of the ‘Educate to Sustain’ programme, CCI stepped in to organise a workshop at Shantiniketan, Kolkata, under the guidance of designer and sculptor, Anita Bhattacharya. The artisans chosen were young adults (under 25 years old) — all school dropouts and working with dhokra. “The main objective was to make them individual craft entrepreneurs who can sell anywhere in India. In the process of widening their market, they will learn the essentials of business practices — costing, accessing working capital, on-time delivery, packing forwarding, and finally keeping accounts,” explains Jayasri.  

Rs 1,000 to Rs 15,000

At Kamala, Egmore