Display of creativity at West Bengal State Handicrafts Expo
Display of creativity at West Bengal State Handicrafts Expo
December 8, 2013
It is that time of the year again, when artisans, craftsmen, weavers and the entire pool of art lovers will gather together for the biggest celebration of creativity. This is that time of the year again, when Bengal’s creative side would be on display at India’s largest handicraft’s fair – West Bengal State Handicraft Expo (Paschim Banga Hastashilpa Mela).
Handicraft is one of the few things that the state of West Bengal is famous all over the world and the artisans from this state has been participating in various international and national fairs where their handicrafts have been lauded. Converting skilful handicraft artisans of the state into entrepreneurs is what the state government is trying to achieve through cohesion business and art.
A pool of talent
Nearly 3000 artisans from different parts of the state like Hooghly, Nadia, Bankura, Darjeeling, Murshidabad are participating in this handicraft fair. A separate pavilion has been allocated to Jangalmahal.
WB Handicraft Expo gives us an opportunity to adore the talents of immense hard work and patience of men and woman of distant villages of rural Bengal. Artwork from Phulia, Shantipur, Dhaniakhali, Krishnagar, Purulia, Bankura, Hoogly, Birbhum, Bishnupur, Midnapore are on display. Although many consider these places as the underdeveloped parts of West Bengal, but the fact is that, these places are actually synonymous with talent and heritage of the state – the source of the widest form of arts and crafts. In fact, the small scale handicrafts industry of rural Bengal contributes a handsome amount to India’s foreign earning.
Better than the best
Among the popular artefacts, the best on display are undoubtedly the clay models from Krishnanagar, terracotta art from Bankura, shell art from Midnapore, Kantha stitch and Batik from Bolpur, Baluchari from Bisnupur, potchitra from Birbhum, Tant from Shantipur, Phoolia and Dhoniakhali, Silk from Murshidabad, masks from Purulia, woolens of Darjeeling, Cane crafts from Jalpaiguri, besides, jute and wooden artworks, carpets, handbags, wall hangings and many more.
Handicrafts from this state decorate the shops of cities in Europe, US, China and elsewhere. Beautiful jewellery like bangles, ear rings made of wheat, bamboo, seeds, and even fish scales have been put on display. Each of these creations showcases the unique talent of the hands of the creator. An entire Indian village has been created out of clay. Idols of Gods and Goddess made of thermocol beautify the stalls of the artists who came all the way from remote parts of the state to put their creations on display.
Number of handicrafts workers in West Bengal – more than 5,50,000. After farming, the largest number of people in the state are engaged in making handicrafts.
For the benefit of handicrafts workers, the state government has created Brand Bengal Corporation, which is a directorate within the Department of Cottage & Small Scale Industries.
West Bengal is the first state which is to make a separate set of rules to be called Handicrafts Policy. A State Design Centre has been set up at Tantuja Bhawan in Bidhannagar, Salt Lake where training in making handicrafts, as well as in business management and marketing would be imparted. Training in using the latest technological knowhow would also be imparted.
Collaborating with the state’s Department of Science and Technology, the government is trying to use more research and development (R&D) to enable the streamlining of the processes used in the making of various handicrafts. The aim is to get more geographical indications (GI) tags for handicrafts products from West Bengal, of which only five have achieved GI patents.
For the last five years, every year, the state government has been organizing six handicrafts fairs. Besides those, news fairs, which create huge sales opportunities, would soon be organised regularly by the government in Siliguri and Shantiniketan. Banglar Haat would be inaugurated in Rajarhat in December.
Currently, handicrafts from Bengal have found an export market in China and Great Britain. The government wants the exports to expand to various European countries as well as the US. To make handicraft items more visible to the international traveler, sales counters of ‘Biswa Bangla’ brand, under which all the handicrafts of the state would be sold, to marketing more effective, would be opened at Kolkata airport in January.
Sales counters of Biswa Bangla brand are lined up to be opened at the shopping complex, Dakshinapan, in Dhakuria, and in Esplanade. The sales counters would soon spread wings to other cities like Delhi and Chennai soon.
Due to the increase in the number of fairs, contracts between customers and artisans who create the handicrafts have increased. This has resulted in their creating handicrafts according to customised specifications, which have resulted in a further increase in sales.
I want to participate in the upcoming Handicrafts Expo 2014. Can anyone tell me the official procedure/ contact number / website address to participate in this program. You can mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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