Kala Raksha

Kala Raksha aims: to preserve and present cultures of ethnic communities of Kutch (Gujarat, India) through their traditional arts; to facilitate the transformation of traditional art into contemporary products by encouraging innovation within existing traditions; to assist communities in achieving economic self-sufficiency through cooperative efforts; to assist direct sale of contemporary arts, for entire local communities. Artisan initiative and participation are the pillars of our work.
Aug 22, 2011

KR MUSEUM RENOVATES EXHIBITION GALLERY

Artisans visit the new gallery
Artisans visit the new gallery

KR MUSEUM COMPLETES RENOVATION OF EXHIBITION GALLERY

KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM PROJECT REPORT 28 MAY - 25 AUGUST 2011

Since its inception, Kala Raksha has dovetailed the collection and preservation of traditional pieces with income generation. The Trust established an international quality Museum of textiles and related materials in 1997. Two features of this Museum make it unique. First, the Museum is based in the village itself. Artisans have access to and responsibility for it. Second, artisans were involved in all phases of the development of the Museum. They assisted in collection, were engaged in documentation, and consulted in the permanent exhibition. The Kala Raksha Museum successfully proves the mutual benefits of involving communities in presenting and utilizing their own cultures. The Museum is intended as a resource base for artisans, designers and researchers. One aim is to revitalize traditions in contemporary ways through the museum’s inspiration.

RENOVATION OF EXHIBITION GALLERY

Renovation of the Museum Exhibition Gallery was completed in July 2011. National Institute of Design exhibition designer Mayank Loonker designed and installed the panels and objects. Kala Raksha coordinators Lachhuben and Rajabhai created the life sized doll mannequins and camel. The exhibition introduces the viewer to the concept of embroideries as languages, and guides him/her to understand traditional embroideries in their cultural context through key questions.

What did the embroideries express? Why did women embroider? How did they use embroidered pieces? What are embroidery styles? How else did women decorate themselves?

An LCD screen extends the exhibition with unlimited flexibility, and enables interactive programs in the gallery. Kala Raksha seeks a film maker to produce a brief introduction to Kala Raksha's work for the gallery. Current films that can also be shown include The Kala Raksha Story, Needlecraft, Artisans Design! And Tanko Bole Chhe (The Stitches Speak). Renovation was funded by the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Government of India, and the DCH will be officially open the new gallery on 6 September. Our museum presentation is more appealing than ever. Added to the freshly painted campus, this will make winter 2011-12 the ideal time to visit Kala Raksha!

VISITORS AND RESEARCHERS

During this period, four groups of five to twenty people each, and eighty individual tourists visited the museum. Our visitors came from the UK, USA, Australia, France, Germany, Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad. Noted guests included Anshuman Saikia, from UTV Bindass, M. Oumar Diop from the African Union Commission, Rekha Udit, from Womens International Network, New Delhi. Twenty students from the National Institute of Fashion Technology Mumbai came with their faculty, and a group of artisan and staff from SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre, Ahmedabad visited. Although we do not yet have a way of tracking visitors to our online museum, we have received many compliments on the site, and some research inquires. Our second online exhibition: INNOVATION: REPURPOSE, RE-INVENT, RECYCLE, received many compliments and good wishes.

RESEARCH

Research for Kala Raksha's book on Kutch embroideries continues. The book will highlight the Kala Raksha Museum collections. During this period, researchers working on Ahir and eastern Kutch embroideries utilized our collections and library extensively, as well as conducted field work. Kimberly DaCosta, a student from Srishti School of Art Design and Technology began her diploma project with Kala Raksha in July 2011. She is working on recycling and "up-cycling" of waste materials. She began with a study of quilts in the Kala Raksha museum collection and research in our library.

KALA RAKSHA VIDHYALAYA ARTISAN DESIGN INTERNS

Two phrases we hear all too often are: "We want something that is not so ethnic" and "We want to take the skills and make the work contemporary." To us this sounds like people who want to like craft, but then again want to eliminate its character. Craft IS ethnic! It is hand art, the expression of an ethnic culture. Ethnic is precisely its character and its beauty. This is not to say that craft should not change. Traditions always evolve. The challenge that Kala Raksha has taken is to update traditional objects to fit contemporary life, without eradicating their essential identity. The good news is that at Kala Raksha the products with cultural integrity- that draw their strength from their ethnic traditions- are the ones that have lasted in the market! In May, the third group of Kala Raksha Artisan Designer interns made a collection of stunning Art to Wear jackets for the American market. The jackets combined traditions studied in the Museum with new concepts. The collection was purchased by the Peabody Essex Museum shop in Salem, Massachusetts in June. The next intern collection is motivated by application to the 2012 Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. In August, Lakhiben, Monghiben, Kuverben, Jivaben and Varshaben all studied kothalo, batuva, gadi, and bokani in the collections of the Kala Raksha Museum and began creating purses, bags, cushion covers and table runners based on the objects. We are confident that it will be a winning collection.

ADDITIONS TO COLLECTIONS

In the June 2011 disbursement from Global Giving, the Kala Raksha Museum received $230. This was utilized to accession a collection of six Ahir embroideries that will support the research on our embroidery book. Four new books were accessioned in this period, including a gift from Thomas Seligman, Director of the Iris & B Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts in Stanford California, who was so inspired by the ornament collection in the Kala Raksha Museum that he plans to return to Kutch to work with Kala Raksha in documenting Rabari ornaments. An out of print copy of Dowries from Kutch was also gifted to the Museum library. THANKS TO GLOBAL GIVING! Kala Raksha Trust is self sustaining in its income generation work- a feat not even attempted by many non-profits. However, the earnings from our income generation can not cover the costs of expansion of The Kala Raksha Museum, which is the core of our sustainable, authentic work. Generous donations from our supporters enable us to add to our collections, and host projects that utilize our rich resource. Global Giving has enabled us to realize our first goal in expanding our collections and installing our second virtual exhibition! We thank Global Giving donors for your support, and welcome financial contributions as well as ideas for ways to reach out and share our holdings with interested people.

“The Global giving website is easy to navigate. It makes giving so much easier,” Maryann Sadagopan, Global Giving donor.

THE NEXT PHASE

We look forward to finishing the Heritage Collection samples and submitting them to the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. We are also excited to complete the field work stage of our book on Kutch embroidery traditions and begin editing for publication with a highly respected publisher. $795 would enable the final research to be carried out. As the priority for accessions shifted to support research on Ahir embroidery, the two small collections of objects identified earlier: an additional collection of Eastern Kutch embroidery, and a collection of women’s blouses are still on our wish list. These are valued at RS 10,650 ($242) and RS 18,700 ($425) respectively. Having renovated our Museum Exhibition, we wish to revise our catalogue, which will make the exhibition information available to interested people throughout the world. $1,000 would make publishing a new catalo

what did embroideries express?
what did embroideries express?
What are embroidery styles?
What are embroidery styles?
Artisan designed jacket
Artisan designed jacket
A wedding batuva from collection
A wedding batuva from collection
Varsha making a batuva from inspiration
Varsha making a batuva from inspiration

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Jun 1, 2011

KALA RAKSHA VIDHYALAYA PUBLISHES 2nd Evaulation

Jivaben Navtank
Jivaben Navtank

 KALA RAKSHA VIDHYALAYA PUBLISHES

SECOND SHINING EVALUATION OF GRADS

 KALA RAKSHA VIDHYALAYA

PROJECT REPORT 16 MARCH-27 MAY 2011

 EVALUATION OF KRV WOMEN GRADUATES 2006-2010

This year, Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya published its second evaluation of graduates, on women graduates to date..  We found that with a very few exceptions, women had benefited dramatically from their design education experience.  A full report is attached.

YEAR SIX AT KALA RAKSHA VIDHYALAYA

By now the students of Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya’s 6th year have completed three of six courses, and the men’s fourth course is nearly finished as this report goes to press.  The third course, Market Orientation, enabled artisans to put their artistic efforts into the context of the outside world.  The students took a three day field trip to Ahmedabad to visit shops and home of the clients they would like to reach.  They created client boards and received individual feedback from designers visiting the institute.

Jivaben  “ We embroider, but we had no experience of shops or clients.  I saw that a lot of work shows less.  A little work shows more!”

 Move Over, Any Goldsworthy!

The fourth course, Concept and Communication was innovatively taught by Santanu Das, a recent graduate of NID.  A screening of the film Rivers and Tides, a documentary of the work of Andy Goldsworthy so impressed Santanu that he spontaneously added a classroom assignment to express the themes the students were working on in natural installations on campus. This was after they had to write up what they felt, draw pictures, create colours, and make motifs within their traditions.  All of the above had gone slowly, with effort.  With this assignment, they worked intuitively.  Dhanji depicted winter.  Under a small grove of gundi trees, where the cars are parked and drivers relax on cots, he made a simple, stark mud womb, with growth coming out of it, and a low stone wall around it.  He said that this represented the safest place, of safety, quiet, and growth.

Hansraj had monsoon.  He chose a neem tree that was in the strong wind, and strung it with streamers that were white with blue attached.  He used the wind to make it dynamic.

Hitesh had autumn.  Thinking of Navratri, he chose a single baval tree, beautifully shaped and situated.  He made a small circle of bricks around it, and also tied subtle yellow lines as restrainers in the tree.  Then he wrapped the tree in cheerful, colourful crepe paper, and hung clay cups covered with different coloured paper. Akib had summer.  He chose our lime crushing pit.  Inside, he filled it with rocks.  He piled up leaves and brush inside and burned them, leaving the ash and the black ground.  Summer is hard, he said.  It is crushingly hot and burns away everything.  He had the round area to symbolize the sun.  He saw the heat as black. Noman had spring.  He went under the stairwell and made a spiral of coloured powder, working out from darker to brigher colours.  Thinking of Holi, and Jackson Pollak, and needing to burn off his considerable energy, he took the rest of the colours and flung them all around the entrance. 

Clearly, the artisans can get to emotion and concept through physical action.  This came easily to them, and they were all very excited about what they had been able to do.  The expressions were deep, profound, and effective.  They also clearly revealed a very different understanding of the seasons than the conventional western one.

 Hiteshbhai: “I never thought I could get a motif from surroundings and experience.”

Dhanjibhai- “From the experience I felt I should use soft colours and materials to express winter.”

 INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

E-Portfolios of KRV Alumni

KRV’s a new website www.kala-vidhyalaya.org has gone live as of today!  The portfolios are still under construction but you can now visit the site, search for artisan graduates, and register to see the images as they are uploaded. 

 

OUTREACH

Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya collaborated with students from Royal College of Art, Imperial College (both in UK) and NID in an innovative program: GO GLOBAL India 2011: Craftology, a think tank on how technology can support rather than replace craft. From the collaboration we are adding QR codes to our product tags, and hope to develop a computer program that KRV design students can use to facilitate their work.

 

Lachhuben Raja, Field Coordinator in Tunda Vandh, represented Gujarat in the India-Africa summit held in May 2011 in Ethiopia.  She is the first Kala Raksha artisan to travel abroad completely on her own!

 

Kala Raksha Vidyalaya women graduates have been invited to collaborate with design students in Italy for an exhibition this winter.  Look for details!

 

To enhance a lively exhibition of textile illustrations of Gujarati sayings, Kala Raksha plans to publish a book of the works.  The first edition should be ready in September.

 

KRV Films in an online Festival

Kala Raksha has submitted our films "Artisans Design! The Launch of Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya" and “The Masters’ Voices” to Culture Unplugged online film festival.  The festival will be live online til June 2011.  See http://www.cultureunplugged.com/storyteller/Kala_Raksha

 Artisan Design Online

Find Kala Raksha Artisan Designed work online at www.equalcraft.com

 Articles on Artisan Design have been published in three important online craft journals: Hand/Eye  www.handeyemagazine.com 3 February 2010; Craft Unbound www.craftunbound.net 27 January 2011, and the Craft Revival Trust Newsletter www.craftrevival.org vol 110, issue 2 Winter-Spring 2011.

 

Kala Raksha is now on FacebookAnd join a discussion on issues of craft and design on our blog http://www.kala-raksha-blog.org/

 

HONOURS

In May, 2011, Project Director Judy Frater was nominated as a member of the Government of India planning commission on Crafts.

THANKS TO GLOBAL GIVING!

KRV succeeded in raising the funds to cover the academic year of 2010!  The Indian financial year spans between April 2010 and March 2011, and our sixth year of classes is nearly halfway done.  So we now must raise funds for the 2011 academic year. 

 

KRV relies entirely on donations. 9% of 2010’s funding was individual donations—equivalent to over four scholarships. Global Giving has made a substantial contribution.   

As one donor wrote, “The Global giving website is easy to navigate. It makes giving so much easier.”

 

 

Your generous contribution can help! You can make a difference in the lives of our very creative constituency!!

 

Miraben

“ We learned so much related to our work. Now if we do an exhibition we know to do it as per season, to arrange as per the clients’ convenience.”

 

THE NEXT PHASE

Sustainability is still our challenge. We are now beginning to focus on entrepreneurial activities to enable the institute to become more self supporting. We have submitted a proposal to two potential funders for holding the first of an annual fund raising event in the USA, and are circulating our proposal for workshops with KRV alumni.  Initial response has been encouraging.

 

Financial sustainability is always a huge challenge for an educational institution.  We welcome any entrepreneurial ideas –and ideas for increasing visibility-from our supporters.

Tulsiben
Tulsiben
Akib installation
Akib installation
Dhanji installation
Dhanji installation
Hitesh practiccal
Hitesh practiccal
Katherine review
Katherine review

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May 27, 2011

KR MUSEUM SUPPORTS Major Documentation Project

Vagadia rabari purse accessioned for exhibiton
Vagadia rabari purse accessioned for exhibiton

KR MUSEUM SUPPORTS MAJOR DOCUMENTATION PROJECT KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM PROJECT REPORT 3 APRIL – 27 MAY 2011 Since its inception, Kala Raksha has dovetailed the collection and preservation of traditional pieces with income generation. The Trust established an international quality Museum of textiles and related materials in 1997. Two features of this Museum make it unique. First, the Museum is based in the village itself. Artisans have access to and responsibility for it. Second, artisans were involved in all phases of the development of the Museum. They assisted in collection, were engaged in documentation, and consulted in the permanent exhibition. The Kala Raksha Museum successfully proves the mutual benefits of involving communities in presenting and utilizing their own cultures. The Museum is intended as a resource base for artisans, designers and researchers. One aim is to revitalize traditions in contemporary ways through the museum’s inspiration. VISITORS AND RESEARCHERS An American student from the School for International Studies did research for her independent project. During this period, 10 buyers and tourists also visited the Museum. Happily, several were on reccees, and promise to bring groups in the cooler months. Although we do not yet have a way of tracking visitors to our online museum, we have received many compliments on the site, and as we launched our second online exhibition: INNOVATION: REPURPOSE, RE-INVENT, RECYCLE, we received many compliments and good wishes. RESEARCH The accessioning of a significant collection of eastern Kutch textiles coincided serendipitously with the short sabbatical of an excellent researcher, and the acceptance of a proposal to publish a book on Kutch embroideries. During this period, the researcher utilized our collections and library extensively, and began field work. The project promises to bring exciting breakthrough information on the wonderful textiles of this little known region of Kutch, which will greatly enhance our Museum collections and make for an important publication. DESIGN INTERNS The National Institute of Fashion Technology intern Smita Srivastava and Richika Pallavi completed their project. KRV Project Director Judy Frater was a member of the jury panel for their final exhibition. The jury most appreciated the quality of traditional work, which was supported by research for artisans and designer alike in the museum The third group of Kala Raksha Artisan Designer interns have completed the first round of Art to Wear jackets, which will be shown at the Surface Design Association conference in Minneapolis June 9-12. They successfully combined traditions studied in the Museum with new concepts, to make stunning unique garments. RENOVATION OF EXHIBITION GALLERY Renovation of the Museum Exhibition Gallery is nearly complete. In May, National Institute of Design exhibition designer Mayank Loonker made two visits to install the panels and objects. Only the handmade mannequins and camel remain. The addition of an LCD screen will extend the exhibition with unlimited flexibility, and enable interactive programs in the gallery. The renovation has professionalized our museum presentation tremendously. Added to the freshly painted campus, this will make winter 2011-12 the ideal time to visit Kala Raksha! ADDITIONS TO COLLECTIONS Renovation of the museum exhibition required changes in display Consequently Kala Raksha purchased two new objects for the exhibition. Five new books were accessioned in this period, including Nina Sabnani’s Stitching Stories: The Art of Embroidery in Gujarat. Kala Raksha is featured in this charming children’s book. “Stitching Stories” is an adaption of Nina Sabnani’s animated film “Tanko Bole chhe,” which recently won its eight award: “The Stellar Selections Animation award” at Black Maria Film Festival at Cornell Cinema. THANKS TO GLOBAL GIVING! Kala Raksha Trust is self sustaining in its income generation work- a feat not even attempted by many non-profits. However, the earnings from our income generation can not cover the costs of expansion of The Kala Raksha Museum, which is the core of our sustainable, authentic work. Generous donations from our supporters enable us to add to our collections, and host projects that utilize our rich resource. Global Giving has enabled us to realize our first goal in expanding our collections and installing our second virtual exhibition! We thank Global Giving donors for your support, and welcome financial contributions as well as ideas for ways to reach out and share our holdings with interested people. “The Global giving website is easy to navigate. It makes giving so much easier,” Maryann Sadagopan, Global Giving donor. THE NEXT PHASE We look forward to showcasing our Art to Wear collection at the Surface Design Association meetings in Minneapolis June 9-12. We are also excited to conduct the final phase of documentation of Kutch embroidery traditions and begin editing our documentation for publication with a highly respected publisher. $795 would enable the final research to be carried out. Two more small collections of objects have been identified for accession: an additional collection of Eastern Kutch embroidery, and a collection of women’s blouses. These are valued at RS 16,650 ($378) and RS 18,700 ($425) respectively. With the renovation of our Museum Exhibition, we wish to revise our catalogue, which will make the exhibition information available to interested people throughout the world. $1,000 would make publishing a new catalogue possible.

Panel for new exhibiton
Panel for new exhibiton
Vagadia Rabari woman in traditional dress
Vagadia Rabari woman in traditional dress
Work on Exhibition
Work on Exhibition

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