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  • The future of Goan handicraft and artisans

    Aparanta Hastakala Mela 2002, a two-day Craft Mela concluded recently at Marcel. A number of craftsmen were invited to display their works in the stalls which were put up at the exhibition. Craft competition was also organised. In addition, veteran craftsmen were felicitated and a symposium was held on the topic ‘Goan Handicraft: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ wherein distinguished personalities in the field of arts and crafts spoke.

    It is for the second time that such a Mela on a larger scale has been organised in the field of handicraft, the first being held at Mardol, last year. On this occasion, intense need is felt to survey and revive the position of handicraft in Goa and so a few thoughts on the same.

    The structure of any society remains incomplete in absence of arts and crafts. In today’s age of science, technology and industrialisation, we are so much involved in overcoming our day-to-day needs that things like arts and crafts have been automatically fallen separate and we have started counting them in a special category/ compartment. We, then standing in one compartment of our routine life, struggling to fulfill our basic needs/ requirements look at art in an amusing way. It appears rather separate to our practical life and we probably think that it is something which requires a special attitude and thus a special category is born which is delinked with our day-to-day life.

    Such situation is very unpleasant as well as discouraging because people live just for the sake of living without deriving pleasure and happiness out of it. Here it is, that the importance of art and craft is felt intensely and is needed to complete the individual as well as social structure, keep our spirit high and derive pleasure and happiness from all things we do making life worthy of living.

    Quite late, but was ‘better late than never’ will have to be said in case of handicraft in Goa, one of the activities in the state which was neglected for years and was as good as ‘dead wood’. Since last year, concrete steps have been taken in the crafts of Goa.

    Since the emergence of handicraft in Goa, it stood within the full control of Government and led by top officials to the rank of Managing Director but something was going wrong somewhere which resulted into a poor outcome. There is a heavy investment made here but not even fetching equivalent returns simply because at the first place it was badly organised and poorly managed, and at the second not having known its importance.

    Another so called drawback of handicraft sector is that on one hand it has long been replaced by the mechanical goods for all purposes whereas on the other, one may not expect concrete monitory returns as much as in any other business until and unless he has a taste for artistic endeavour and may not be keen in finding his investment doubled or tripled.

    In fact, it is the sad story of the entire structure of art and craft activity in this land because the very awareness to protect and develop art and craft was ardent only when we were independent. At the national level we were comparatively sound having maximum states fully bloomed with the tradition of handicraft, but in Goa, the situation was altogether different.

    When we have to talk on the ‘Goan handicrafts yesterday, today and tomorrow’ there is a greater risk on its authenticity than a justification. Any product of handicraft needs to be analysed along with several aspects which fall responsible or to that matter directly or indirectly influences on the very ‘produce’. So any form or the object produced will have to be linked with the very need that arose to produce the same. Along with this also important is the available material, the technical facilities, the socio-cultural infrastructure, the inter-related influences and so on. Again the point of the advancement of science and technology and the imposition of industrialisation on the very life and living of people cannot be neglected because that is where the need to ‘reproduce’ or ‘multiply’ is felt.

    Designer plays a vital role in reshaping the entire activity. Simply putting it in a different way, if the designer was not to visualise and create new design for any product, the manufacturer would have relied upon the only existing pattern. This also means because the designer has produced a new design and the manufacturer produced an object based on that, it was marketed with a new anxiety and the buyer having found something new was automatically attracted towards the same. This is how every now and then, the designs undergo a change and people with their inborn quality and need for a change every time, go to the product having the latest design. This is how things turn so called to be modern which means a new taste or a need to do something new, unique and the latest.

    Out of several definitions made in terms of defining modern art is ‘Change to something new is called Modern Art’. Here we all live today along with the changes taken place in each and every facet of life. So, we will be bound to say that what was produced yesterday or to the extent sometime before is no more modern.

    April 09, 2002, India

    Source: The Navhind Times

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