Creativity and a cause

Anugraha Rao
Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Every artwork at the ongoing Navarang exhibition gives out a strong message to save, reuse and shows how nothing can be everything

Navarang, a unique exhibition presents nine female artisans from different parts of the city. Shruti Bhagdikar, Ananya Bose, Preetam Tulshibagwale, Deepti Bawane, Deepali Pathak, Archana S Kulkarni, Sonali Rane, Pranali Parasnis and Shamala Lonkar have come together to showcase their out of the box artworks. We talk to four artisans about the efforts they have put in to them. Excerpts....

Spread the word
Lawyer by profession and artist by passion, Ananya Bose (27) started a venture called ‘Mrida’ this year. Mrida means ‘Earth’ in Sanskrit, and so is the concept behind her artefacts.
Says Bose, “Whatever you take from the Earth, you give it back without harming it. So whatever I make is from waste, discarded or reclaimed material that people throw away like cardboard, jute, papers, copper wires, sacks, old electrical devices and many other things. I try to recycle and make things out of trash.” 

She believes that art is a very powerful language to convey any message. “Speaking and writing has been done enough, now is the time to attract the audience and make them uncomfortable for their habits,” she announces.

Along with Kindle covers, bookmarks and fridge magnets, Bose also creates seed pens and pencils. These can grow into a plant once they are completely used and placed in soil or even if people throw it away. 
Each and every product has a theme which talks about the conservation of nature.

Giving an example she says, “If my theme is ‘save the bees’, all my products will have bees on it. I also write awareness posts on my website and I am also getting in touch with a few NGOs to collaborate with them.”

A one-woman army, Bose does not take any help in making the products. From making, packaging to delivering, she does it all by herself. Apart from the exhibition, one can easily find the products on social sites also.

Customisation is the speciality
Shifting her career from engineering to gemology, Shruti Bhagdikar (52) started her journey of making jewellery with copper wires and after practising for five years, now she dedicatedly works with silver wires. All the products are handmade with pure silver and semi-precious gems. Says she, “I buy the silver and give it to the artists who mould it in a wire. This way I can control the quality of my products. The quality range is from 92.5 to 100 per cent silver.”

The easy to remember name, Jhumka Jewellery is the online site of Bhagdikar. Though the name says Jhumka, she provides more variety ornaments like rings, anklets, nose rings, toe rings and pendants. And the best part of her service is that she customises the product according to the buyer’s choice.

Bhagdikar says that she does not work with precious stones. She wants people to be able to wear their jewellery whenever and wherever they want. “Not just elite, whoever likes creativity and handcrafted products, we give them the opportunity to experience and appreciate the same,” she says. So far, Jhumka Jewellery has got a lot of love from its customers and Bhagdikar expects the same for this exhibition too. 

Nothing artificial is the motto
Pritam Tulshibagwale (44) is a terrain artist and does landscaping as well. With a postgraduate degree in environmental science, Tulshibagwale is very close to nature and concerned about its degrading quality. From the past three years, she has been doing landscaping, terrarium and miniature gardens. 

Her artefacts consist of desert plants and hence she named them ‘Thar’, meaning ‘desert’. For people keen to learn terrarium, she conducts workshops too. 

“Nowadays, indoor plants —big and small are getting a lot of response. There is a wide variety as well,” she says, adding “my work is more close to nature. I do not use artificial colours or plants. Everything is living and natural. You can also find an entire rainforest in some of my artwork.”
It is easy to work with big plants and take care of them, however, it seems a little challenging to work with the smaller ones. 

Tulshibagwale says, “Indeed it is challenging and time-consuming, but I like to play with those tiny plants and show my creativity. They are low maintenance plants. Just like any other plant, they need water and natural sunlight. I give an instruction manual to the customers with each plant.”

One can find miniature gardens, ceramic pots for indoor plants and eco-friendly grow bags (industrial fabric material bags) at the Navarang exhibition. 

Art of patience
Dipti Bawane (54), in her collection Mruda meaning ‘earth’, showcases ceramic cookware, tableware, planters, pots, miniature pots, clay water bottles and other artefacts.
Says Bawane, “We have a few really different designs with fine finishing that people may not find in other potters’ works . However, everyone puts in a lot of effort and every product is unique in one or the other way. Every artist has a different formula for the base and one can be never compared with the other.” 

Giving an example, Bawane says that many artisans do not put more creativity in the water bottles, but they do. “We want people to use the product and if it is kept somewhere, it should look beautiful and the creativity should reflect through it. Every item takes approximately a month to get prepared. It is a work of creativity and patience.”

She informs that ceramic products are coloured beforehand and the beauty of it is that one can never predict what colour it would take after it is baked in the fire. “Though whatever result comes out, it looks beautiful,” says Bawane.
In the exhibition, Bawane is presenting products suitable for this festive season. 

Navarang exhibition is underway at Darpan Art Gallery, Kalachhaya Campus, till October 13, from 11 am-7.30 pm

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