The Bling Factory
Photo Credit :
In 1999, an exhibition was organised in Delhi to support artisans in cyclone-hit Orissa. At the event, I spotted a young student working with an equally young Patachitra artisan. The way the student interacted with the artisan seemed odd. While she was ‘instructing’ the man to do things, the artisan meekly obeyed her and created dull Patachitra creations. I knew the man. He had retold some classic tales beautifully on dried palm leaves, and was using his art to record contemporary events and their impact. He had an entire Patachitra telling the story of lynched missionary Graham Staines. Hence, the lack of sensitivity of the student was bewildering.