Medieval art form gets modern twist

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BIDRI artist

Bidri artistes of Bidar take to new canvases

What does a snazzy USB drive cover have to do with the art of Bidri ware that was promoted by the Bahmani kings of the medieval times?

The traditional art, identified with a limited set of designs, is trying to diversify and find a foothold in the present-day market and appeal to younger patrons.

Bidri artistes in Bidar, Karnataka, are moving away from the old portfolio that included flower vases, jewellery boxes and the signature item — the royal hookah and have come up with innovative products such as USB drive covers, office stationery, lampshades and even floor tiles.

Abdul Rauf, national award-winning master craftsman, has been making tiny Bidri pieces with a few line drawings to be fitted on to USB drives.

He has sold around 3,000 pieces to a showroom in Hyderabad. Orders are pouring in, he said. “We had to do this to save on costs and reduce the use of metal,” he said.

“We observed that people were buying smaller and lighter gifts. That is why we had to shift to smaller items,” said Rajkumar Nageshwar who comes from a family of Bidri artisans.

Abdul Rasheed, master craftsman, said artisans were now producing office stationery pieces of smaller value.

“We are now creating paper clips, key bunches, lockets, envelope openers, pen stands, lampshades and kajal boxes. Artisans had also come up with tiles and tabletops, he said.

P.C. Jaffer, Deputy Commissioner of Bidar, said the Union government and Export Import Bank of India had organised training for artisans.

They had resource persons from the National Institute of Design to come up with lighter items that used less silver and therefore, cost lesser, Mr. Jaffer said.

He, however, admitted that only a handful of artisans were adapting to new designs, while most were still stuck with traditional designs.
(The Hindu)

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