In Tamil Nadu, the Kalamkari paintings from Karuppur and the wood carvings from Kallakurichi have recently received Geographical Indication (GI) labels. Both of these art forms are traditional in nature. While the paintings are painstakingly done on cotton cloth using pens or brushes made from bamboo and coconut stems, wood carving is essentially a sculpture in which artisans specialize in carving d ‘objects related to temples and furniture, using traditional motifs.
According to a report in The Hindu, the application for registration of Karuppur kalamkari paints for the label has been moved by the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation (Poompuhar). She filed the Kallakurichi Wood Carving Application jointly with the Kallakurichi Wood Carving Handicrafts Industrial Cooperative Society and the Chinnasalem and Vriksha Association of Wood Carving Artisans self-help group.
Explaining the process of the Kalamkari paintings, Meena Varma, gallery owner, Arts of the Earth, said indianexpress.com, “The artists take a twig and wrap a fabric around it, then dip it in the dye they make themselves. First, they process the cotton fabric (canvas) by soaking it in milk and other things. It takes a lot of expertise. “
Varma, whose gallery was one of the first to promote folk and tribal art, went on to say that these paintings are very popular, but the style mainly originates from Andhra Pradesh. “Like most folk art, it is either temple art or house art. The subjects are all mostly religious, but they also cover nature a bit. The time to complete a painting depends on the complexity and size of the canvas.
“It’s a positive thing – and good for artists – to bring these tribal and folk art forms into the mainstream.”
According to Tamil Nadu meteorologist, GI is a label used on products of a specific geographic origin, and those that have a reputation due to that origin. Politician and curator of Indian crafts Jaya Jaitly told the outlet that it was essentially a “special status”.
“There is so much variety in India that anything that specializes in one area and has a wonderfully rich history is noted. So to give it status, the GI is a good tool, ”she said.
While the owner of the GI label has “exclusive rights” to the product and may even sue someone for attempting to duplicate it, Jaitly said that in addition to certifying what is special, she is not. “Not sure” if it “added to the price, or protected an item from copying.”
Kalamkari means to create something with a ‘kalam’ or a brush. Traditionally, only three colors are used: black, red and yellow. But lately ‘pale blue’ has also started to be used, says the Tamil Nadu meteorologist.
Several other innovations and traditions of the state have also received the coveted tag, such as Kanyakumari cloves, Dindigul locks, Mahabalipuram stone carving, Nilgiri (Orthodox) tea, Virupakshi hill banana, Thanjavur doll, Thanjavur paintings, Coimbatore wet grinder, Kancheepuram silk and saree, to name a few.
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