Artisans' Bazaar

Prateem R and Hiranmayi K share their experience of the ‘Artisans’ Bazaar’ which brought rare and contemporary artisanal products from various Indian towns to Bengaluru.


Orissa artist selling Pattachitra paintings.

Bengaluru: The Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath (KCP), an art complex and landmark for visual culture, highlighted the work of local artisans from different parts of India at the ‘Artisans’ Bazaar’ held here recently. The KCP, which displays the tradition of folk art from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal in its various museums, hosted the present-age exponents of this tradition.

Amidst the riot of colours that the Bazaar was filled with, ornate Pattachitra work of Devashish from Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, caught one’s eye. Pattachitra, an art form indigenous to Odisha, originated in the 12th century. It has grown around icons which are painted on a piece of gauze-like fine cotton cloth, which is coated with white stone powder and gum made out of tamarind seeds. According to Devashish, the colours used in Pattachitra paintings are unique since they are made using the gum of the kaitha tree as a base and pigmented by adding other raw materials. The pieces of art are primarily executed in profile with elongated eyes. Usually, they depict the temple of Jagannath, the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, the five-headed form of Ganesha, etc.

According to the local tradition, every year, during Debasnana Purnima in Puri Jagannath Temple, the deities are bathed with 108 pots of cold water to fight the heat of the summer. Afterwards, the deities are believed to fall sick and are covered from public view for 15 days, a period which is known as ‘Anasara’. Then, some of the finest Chitrakars, gather to make Pattachitra paintings of the three deities - namely, Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra, and Lord Balabhadra - for the public to pay their respects. These paintings are called Ansar Patti.

The Bazaar retailed an amalgamation of exclusive household items, such as bedsheets, blankets, cutlery, baskets and antique furniture. These were evidently different from items that can be found in a mall.
A pan stall displayed an assortment of masalas and refreshments which the northern-Indian shopkeeper offered for tasting.

The Grand Flea Market, in collaboration with Chittara, who organised the Bazaar, brought nearly 80 artisans, a drop from the previous year’s 120, from their native places to Bangalore to showcase their art. Kiran, speaking for the organisers, said that the Bazaar was a platform for arts, crafts and handlooms from remote parts of India, which were not available to the urban-dwellers of Bangalore.

According to Kiran, the work displayed at the Bazaar is especially relevant today because these artisans are now a part of a legacy of skills which have been passed down from generation to generation. The Bazaar celebrates not only artisanal work but also inspires other budding artists from the adjacent visual arts college at the Parishath.

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