A training programme, ‘Design Development in Tribal Jewellery’ has been organized for 20 tribal women artisans of Anwesha Tribal Arts and Crafts, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, for a period of 30 days with support of India Exim Bank. Anwesha Tribal Arts and Crafts (Anwesha), a non-profit organization, strives for the all-round development of the tribals of Odisha through training/capacity building of tribal artisans and marketing their products. Anwesha is also engaged with the tribal artisans in their socio-economic development.
Anwesha has two production centres in Bhubaneshwar for dhokra crafts and tribal jewellery. Anwesha seeks to identify, preserve, promote, propagate, innovate, popularize and market tribal art and craft products – such as the rich and complex art form ‘Dhokra’ a stunning metal made from bronze and copper-based alloys using a ‘lost wax casting’, that represents the cultural heritage of the tribes of Odisha. Odisha has the largest number of tribes in India with as many as 62 tribes, with diverse habitats and lifestyles. There is a rich heritage of crafts in Odisha and the distinctiveness of each tribe lies in its rituals, cultures, beliefs and above all, their harmony with nature, as depicted through their products such as measuring bowls, religious deities, lamps, jewellery, artefacts, jewellery boxes, tableware, home-décor products etc.
More than 2000 artisans belonging to the SC, ST and OBC categories are associated with Anwesha. The tribal jewellery handcrafted by Anwesha artisans, displays the spirit of primal mankind articulated in shapes and designs bearing an earthy charm and portrays the unique cultural background, ideas and legends of the tribe, which have been carried forward through generations. Odisha’s tribal jewellery, generally crafted using local materials, has been gaining popularity in the international market in recent years, for it is considered very ethnic, elegant and modern, depicting an idealized outward appearance of the socio-cultural tradition of the concerned tribal communities. Mr. Dambarudhar Behera, Secretary, Anwesha, expressed “Our association with Exim Bank, over the past 6 years has helped us grow, progress and expand our horizons, for which we shall be ever thankful to Exim Bank and look forward to their continued support for many more years to come”.
The current training programme on design development for 20 tribal women artisans of Anwesha, is the first Online Training Programme supported by the Bank, and has been conceptualized with due regard to social distancing norms, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The program mentor, Mr. Puneet Kaushik, a designer of international repute, has a rich experience of over three decades in this field, and a longstanding experience in collaborating with folk and tribal craftspeople. He has been conferred the ‘Artist of the Year’ award, Chivas Studio, in 2009. He is also the recipient of the Junior Research Fellowship, Department of Culture, Government of India, 2000-2002 and is a Nehru Research Associate, Jawaharlal Nehru Trust, India, 1998 – 2000. Mr. Puneet serves on the board of ‘Dastkar’ a society for Crafts and Craftspeople. Through this training programme, Mr Puneet envisions adapting traditional craft techniques and tweaking them to suit contemporary market needs. As quoted by Mr. Puneet, ‘It’s like a marriage between the tribal and the folk indigenous art forms, with a contemporary approach’.
The current Design Development programme shall help to further hone and diversify the skills of the tribal artisans of Anwesha and generate awareness about advanced techniques and latest designs, in keeping with market trends. This is expected to promote / scale-up the domestic as well as international business of Anwesha, through high-quality hand-crafted products. This training programme shall also lead to improvement in the livelihood and economic status of the tribal artisans of Anwesha Tribal Arts and Crafts. Ms. Harsha Bangari, Deputy Managing Director, Exim Bank, in her welcome address, acknowledged the unstinting efforts of Anwesha in the socio-economic upliftment of the tribal artisans and wished the program all success.
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