SRINAGAR Nearly 25 city craftsmen have turned to Indias premier design institute, National Institute of Design, for assistance by enrolling for new techniques, contemporary designs for upgrading their skills to be able to meet the commercial demands. This will server to restore the Kashmiri Paper Mache, a 600-year-old art which is dying a silent death.
As part of the Government Of Indias (GoIs) initiative for upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts and Crafts for Development (USTTAD), which was launched in 2015, the NID has been enrolling minority communities like Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains, engaged in the practice of traditional arts and crafts. NID professor Tanishka Kachru said, The craftsmen have been facing a lot of threat from poor exposure to newer technologies, low capital and absence of market intelligence. We are training them on how to make contemporary products appealing to both, the national and international markets by themselves.
NID is training them in mould-making, building structural stability with the material through innovations, using e-commerce platforms, marketing, et cetera. Since they are dependent on a network of people to sell their products, we are training them how to click good pictures of the products and upload online, she said. The government of Kashmir only recently included paper-mâché as part of the school curriculum to promote the art. The art of paper mache across the world has been adorning drawing rooms in the form of wall hangings, to paper stands, to jewellery boxes to souvenirs.
Paper mâché is a delicate but highly decorative art introduced to Kashmir in the 15th Century by a local prince who learnt the art during the years he spent in prison at Samarkand in Central Asia. This unique craft involves the use of paper pulp to create beautifully painted artefacts.
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