On World Heritage Day, Vedanta Aluminium, India’s largest producer of aluminium, launched an online gallery on its own website to promote handicrafts made by local artists from communities in its operational areas. To begin with, the online gallery showcases beautiful pieces of Dhokra metalwork and Saura paintings for purchase based on popular demand. Through this initiative, Vedanta Aluminium aims to widen the reach of the unique art and culture that the company nurtures in its vicinity across the world. The gallery will thus provide artisans in remote areas the opportunity to increase their earnings. The online gallery will be a virtual extension of Vedanta Aluminium’s on-ground initiatives to foster the legacy art forms of India.
Dhokra is an exquisite metalworking art form that dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization and has been a part of India’s rich handicraft legacy for nearly 5000 years. However, it was becoming a fading art in Kankeri villages (Kalahandi district, Odisha) where the skill of the craft was passed down through the generations and was limited to making rudimentary trinkets, which fetched the artisans’ measly earnings. This had forced many artisans to give up Dhokra craft and migrate to other states to work as construction labourers. To revive this craft in Kankeri village, close to its plant, Vedanta Aluminium facilitated training programs in contemporary designs using traditional techniques, provided the initial seed capital for procuring metal and raw materials, and organised exhibitions and art shows to create market linkage opportunities, enabling artisans to sell their art pieces at a better price.
Akin to this, Vedanta Aluminium has also paved the way for the revival of the indigenous tribal artform of ‘Saura’ people from Odisha, who draw inspiration for the art from nature and their own way of life. The exquisite art form was first painted on the walls of homes, showcasing unique motifs depicting daily life, celebrations, animals, farmers, elements of nature, gods, natural spirits, and their ancestors. To preserve this ancient art form, which had begun fading in the face of modernity, Vedanta Aluminium is working with local artists to hone their skills, scale up their work, tap into new markets and carve a remunerative livelihood model. Going a step forward, the company is also generating interest amongst the youth and has started a training program for school students in Saura art. At the Make In Odisha Conclave 2022, Vedanta Aluminium arranged for the Saura artists to showcase their skills, which became a resounding success attracting thousands of people to see their art, thus forming the genesis for this gallery.
Working with the state government through the Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS), Vedanta Aluminium is helping Dhokra & Saura artists in the physical display of their products in government-run physical galleries and exhibitions. This partnership is also helping the artists access monetary grants given by the government to support artisans. This has also improved their quality of life by bringing their plight to the notice of the district administration, who then invested in infrastructure development and making available required amenities for the people.
Speaking on the occasion of World Heritage Day, Mr. Rahul Sharma, CEO – Aluminium Business, Vedanta Ltd., said, “Legacy art forms such as Dhokra sculptures and Saura paintings are a testimony to our country’s rich cultural heritage. We take pride in nurturing an ecosystem that promotes, preserves, and celebrates these beautiful cultural embodiments. On World Heritage Day, we recommit to enabling the artisans from our local communities empower themselves with modern skills and financial know-how, while we work towards increasing their visibility in national and international arenas.”
Vedanta Aluminium, a business of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest producer of aluminium, manufacturing more than half of India’s aluminium i.e., 2.29 million tonnes in FY23. It is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. Vedanta Aluminium ranks 2nd in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) 2022 world rankings for aluminium industry, a reflection of its sustainable development practices. With its world-class aluminium smelters, alumina refinery and power plants in India, the company fulfils its mission of spurring emerging applications of aluminium as the ‘Metal of the Future’ for a greener tomorrow.
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