Expanding museum for women artisans of Kutch India

by Kala Raksha
Sep 20, 2010

Kala Raksha Museum Inspires New Collections!

Kala Raksha artisans study textiles in the Museum
Kala Raksha artisans study textiles in the Museum

Sajnaben: “When we study the Museum, we see ourselves in new, valuable ways.”


The Kala Raksha Museum is a design resource for artisans, designers and researchers. One aim is to perpetuate and revitalize traditions in contemporary ways through the museum’s inspiration. During this period, six senior design school students, two professional designers, fifteen KRV graduate design interns, and thirty women artisans actively utilized our collections to develop contemporary craft-based products. In addition, numerous student and tourist groups visited the museum. Although we do not yet have a way of tracking visitors to our online museum, we have received many compliments on the site.

KRV graduates regularly study the Kala Raksha Museum collections. The current group of 10 women Design Interns developed new Heritage Collections for Kala Raksha this year. These included quilts, jackets, stoles and bags inspired by objects in the Museum.

The new collections were launched at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market and received an excellent response.

Harkhuben: “It was clear that people in Santa Fe liked our traditional work best!”

In May, KRV graduates Abdullabhai, Mohamedbhai, Zuberbhai, Dayalalbhai, and Ramjibhai began a design project with Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology interns Malovika, Sunayana and Kimberly. Two graduates were on a financial aid program wherein they will partially pay their fees in kind. The project included research in the KR Museum collections and working with a contemporary theme. All graduates will work together to design products for this year’s Kala Raksha collections. This insures that the graduates utilize their education in creating new collections, and benefits Kala Raksha with new products- a win-win proposition!

Mohamedbhai: “Seeing the pieces in the Museum, I was drawn back to my roots.”

In June and July 2010 Radhika Agarwal and Devanshi Sanghvi, two interns from the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Gandhinagar worked with Kala Raksha. They began with a study of the Museum collections, assisting the KRV Design Interns with construction and fitting, which gave them a firm base for working later the current KRV students.

Also in June and July 2010, Kala Raksha conducted the second Development Commissioner Handicrafts sponsored Museum Inspired Design Workshop. Thirty traditional embroidery artisans from five ethnic groups worked with Ninoshka Alvares and Stina Gardek, professional designers from Mumbai and Sweden, for fifteen days to create a contemporary collection based on the traditional garments in the Kala Raksha Museum Collection.

Following this workshop, Rutika Sheth, senior design student at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology undertook her diploma project with Kala Raksha to take the collection forward by combining the Museum based garments with the developments of the earlier Srishti students and KRV graduates.

RENOVATION OF EXHIBITION GALLERY By June 2010 the structural alterations for our Museum Exhibition Gallery face-lift were completed. The exhibition object list and script have been revised, and visual images have been identified. The interior design was sketched out, but due to unusually heavy rains this year, no work could be done. Mayank Loonker, a graduate and currently Faculty of the National Institute of Design, will finalize and implement the exhibition design. We hope to have the new gallery open to the public in October.


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.

In just a few months with Global Giving we have already raised funds for collections. 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.


Kala Raksha’s online Museum includes a virtual gallery for changing exhibitions. Currently, Recent Acquisitions are displayed. Plans for our second exhibition and underway. Innovation: Re- Purpose, Re-Invent is scheduled to go live in February, coinciding with an exhibition at The Textile Museum in Washington D.C.: Second Lives: The Age Old Art of Recycling Textiles. For this exhibition, and for the ongoing collection development, a small collection of objects to be acquired has been identified. The total value of these objects is RS 16,800 or US$ 363.

A Rabari quilt in the KR Museum collection
A Rabari quilt in the KR Museum collection
Devalben creates a contemporary version
Devalben creates a contemporary version
A Rabari jacket in the KR Museum
A Rabari jacket in the KR Museum
Devalben's quilt based on the Museum object
Harkhuben & the owner of her museum based jacket
Harkhuben & the owner of her museum based jacket


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Organization Information

Kala Raksha

Location: ta. Bhuj, Kutch, Gujarat - India
Website: http:/​/​www.kala-raksha-vidhyalaya.org
Project Leader:
Judy Frater
Kutch, Gujarat India

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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