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Preserve Art, Preserve Culture

Traditional craftsmanship is perhaps the most tangible manifestation of intangible cultural heritage – says a report by UNESCO.

 

Way To Another’s Life

It is through art and crafts that we can assure permanent creativity. It is not just the visual aspect of it that entices us but their ability to take us into the mind of the creator. Any specific art or crafts form that we see tells us a lot about the people behind it and more or less encompasses every facet of their life.

arts and craft with artisan

Art and Culture

Art and culture are a vast continuum and it becomes our duty to value and preserve what our country’s unique tradition holds for us. It is evolving and incessantly changing ever since we stumbled upon it. Our colorful folklore, striking monuments, archeological sites, tribal arts, literature, precious objects of detailed handiwork, all need our support not only to survive but to thrive. In order to preserve our culture and nurture our roots it is essential that we cultivate it in our nature to conserve these art forms. This holds a broader scope as crafts not only depict our cultural activities but also delves into education, tourism, textiles, international relations, community welfare, uniform economic development, and financial uplifting of people directly involved in their production.

handmade statues

Artisna is actively involved in making concrete efforts in the preservation of such cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. Tangible in the way of keeping the valuable and precious crafts in production and intangible in the form of keeping the art itself alive and let it pass on to generations. We might argue that the governments all over are doing their part to protect our heritage and cultural arts. But among this cultural diversity, we as citizens need to initiate proactive measures to preserve our roots and safeguard our origin and history which are facing the risk of extinction. We can play a huge role in enhancing the standard of life of a carpet maker in Kashmir in India or a wood carver in Bich Chu in Vietnam but a simple gesture.

handmade items

We understand that maintaining museums and historical sites can improve the upkeep of crafts. This however, is limited to the produce that already exists; we on the other hand speak of developing and promoting artisans that are dependent on this skill for their living. With the introduction of modern technology into the equation our overall buying and consuming pattern is altered. We want instant gratification in almost everything. This is where handmade articles lost heavily to machine made goods despite the high quality, utility and longer lasting beauty that they offer. Artisna wants to keep the art alive and very much active to produce high grade quality goods not to be displayed and looked at I awe but to be used by the consumer. Our associates, institutions and other charitable organizations are continuously involved in imparting relevant skill training to artisans around the world.

handmade baskets and bags

They are being educating about the trends that affect the demand and supply of these articles in international markets. This enables them to match their production standards and quantity according to the selective customer base. Direct involvement of the general public is quite valuable for the sustenance of arts and crafts. We can generate more employment opportunities by bringing the cultural and creative industries to work together. Artisna aims to bring the art and craft into the public domain to generate demand for handicrafts as a matter of cultural sustenance and economic prosperity of those involved. We recognize art and craft of any region as their cultural heritage and it can build strong foundation for cultural tourism as well.

Art and Craft – A Mirror to our Culture

There are numerous expressions of traditional craftsmanship: tools; clothing and jewellery; costumes and props for festivals and performing arts; storage containers, objects used for storage, transport and shelter; decorative art and ritual objects; musical instruments and household utensils, and toys, both for amusement and education. Many of these objects are only intended to be used for a short time, such as those created for festival rites, while others may become heirloom that are passed from generation to generation. The skills involved in creating craft objects are as varied as the items themselves and range from delicate, detailed work such as producing paper votives to robust, rugged tasks like creating a sturdy basket or thick blanket.

art and craft talent

Obstacles in the Way of Art

Many craftspeople today continue to struggle in this scenario. They need to adapt to this competition but there are constraints, both environmental and manmade. Like many other forms of art, this too is threatened by globalization and mass production, whether it is a multinational corporation or the local cottage industry. They have Economies of Scale on their side to offer goods at a lower cost and within a smaller time frame than hand production can.

art and crafts items
Climatic Pressures too impact hugely on traditional craftsmanship. Deforestation and land clearing reduce the availability of key natural resources that go into the production of such goods. It is ironic how the development of traditional artisanship into a cottage industry may damage the environment due to increased scale of production.

industrial revolution
We are witnessing a Change in Social Conditions and Cultural Tastes. Festivals and celebrations that were once dependent on elaborate crafts have become more “modern” or less encompassing thus diminishing opportunities for artisans to display their talent. Youth in particular has deviated from the traditions that were once so rigorously followed and now find the occasionally time consuming apprenticeship to be too demanding. This has led them to seek work elsewhere, namely in the machine driven industry which exacts lesser work at often a better pay.

industrial equipment in arts and crafts
Artisna understands that many of these craft traditions bear Trade Secrets that are only passed within them family or community from one generation to the other and should not be taught to outsiders.

secrets of arts and crafts
But the Lack of Interest among family and/or community members may put this knowledge at the risk of disappearing. We value tradition and take pride in our goal of safeguarding this intangible cultural heritage. We with the help of volunteers aim to ensure that this knowledge and skill is passed on to future generations and to artistically inclined, so that they too become a part of a community that reflects creativity.

lack of interest in arts and crafts
There is Lack of Knowledge about handmade crafts among the general consumer. Urbanization and industrialization have resulted in us using numerous items that dominate our everyday lives. Unknown to us these can be replaced with a softer alternative that hand crafted objects offer. By generating awareness and spreading the importance of art and craft we emphasize greatly on invoking appreciation of this talent. We as a society are tied together by almost invisible threads of universal issues that find a place in everybody’s life. Artisna dreams bring about a monumental change by binding all of us into a synergistic whole despite our dissimilarities.

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