Thursday, June 20, 2024

Reviving heritage through collaborative efforts in Bengaluru

Image used for representative purpose. Worker going about with the process of making a typical ‘Athngudi tile’ at Athangudi village in Sivaganga District.

Image used for representative purpose. Worker going about with the process of making a typical ‘Athngudi tile’ at Athangudi village in Sivaganga District.
| Photo Credit: K Ganesan

The last two decades have witnessed a steady decline of traditional artisans in the country with skills – be it art, crafts or construction methodologies – that are traditionally passed down over generations. The decline is apparent as the current generation of ‘artisans’ choose not to be artisans anymore. The result is the fast-disappearing traditional skill-sets, as well as the crafts the traditional artisans were experts in.

Recognising the need for a strong programme to revive the losing heritage and save the disappearing skillsets, the Indian Institute of Interior Designers, Bengaluru Regional Chapter (IIID BRC), has initiated a connect with arts revival unit Madhurya in South Bengaluru (working to revive traditional arts, crafts and weaves over the last decade from across the country) and the Sri Sri Rural Development Programme (SSRDP) involved in the making of hand-made tiles. 

SSRDP also has skill imparting packages in multiple disciplines such as electrical, solar energy, carpentry and plumbing where youth are trained and certified under the National Skill Development Council (NSDC) to permit direct employment in the construction industry as skilled workers.

IIID BRC along with a team of 30 practising architects of Bengaluru will be visiting the Rural Development Program Centre on April 1 to explore ways of collaborating and reviving the country’s fast disappearing heritage arts and crafts as well as construction methodologies to address the low skill base currently dogging the industry.

Architect Kavita Sastry, Chairperson, IIID BRC, stated, “The current level of skilled workers in the construction industry does not match the burgeoning requirement, causing serious concern as it directly impacts the quality of construction as well as the utilities installed. It is commendable that SSRDP has taken up this initiative along with NSDC to impart skills to the youth for the construction industry. It is important for organisations such as IIID to support such initiatives and take them up on a larger scale so as to increase the skill base in the construction industry.”

Air Cmde (Retd) R.N. Merani, Chairman-SSRDP, stated, “Support such as this is what is required to ensure the skill base amongst the youth is increased and this is especially pertinent in the construction industry where we expect the demand for skilled workers to boom in the coming years. Equally needing support is also our efforts to revive the Athangudi tiles. We look forward to an active participation with IIID BRC to successfully take forward such revival and the skilling of workers.”

Bharathy Harish, Director, Madhurya, welcomed the participation of IIID BRC to address the revival of the fast-disappearing heritage arts and crafts. “Whether it is the age-old weaves, Tanjore, Pichwai paintings, Athangudi tiles and many more, it is important that architects and interior designers support their use in the interiors to keep alive these traditional arts. We hope, with this initiative of IIID BRC, we will see a revival in the market for these traditional arts and crafts.”

The architects will visit the Athangudi tiles manufacturing unit, where some of them also will also try their hand at physically making the tiles. The walk through the skill-centre facility will culminate in the architects holding discussions on the possible areas of collaboration and action points to take forward, to ensure tangible outcomes from the visit.

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