Artisans and craftsmen are artists who embrace old techniques and traditions through their artwork learned through decades of knowledge and passed on to communities. These communities transform the available resources into something useful and aesthetically pleasing that reflects their beliefs and culture. They are skilled at their craft and their expertise helps in socio-economic development and aids solutions to any problem.
A Green Building Summit was organized by the digital media house The Decor Journal India on 13th May 2022 and a subject that caught attention during the panel discussions is involving local craftsmen and their craft in architectural projects. The current scenario of architecture is far from embracing craft and local artwork. Art and Architecture complement each other and speak of the time they are articulated in. India is a land of diverse cultures and traditions; art and architecture are reflective of this diversity and spreads awareness about the vanishing craft.
During the panel discussion at the summit, Architect Monish Siripurapu, founder of Ant Studio shared his experience of visiting Bastar in search of local craftsmen for one of his architectural projects. The stretches of the entire village did not have any male potter, he told the panel. He further added The local craft is diminishing and these craftsmen are moving to cities as masons and laborers as their talent is not valued and not enough for them to earn their livelihoods.
Architect Sonali Rastogi, Cofounder of Morphogenesis who was also the part of the panel suggests involving these craftsmen in some way or the other in our architectural projects. This will provide them with livelihood in their hometowns without them having to move to urban cities and the indigenous craft will flourish keeping its authenticity intact.
The regional flavors are refined by the expertise of these artisans and craftsmen who impart a personal touch to every project they get involved in. The growth of urbanism has side-lined these artists as mere workers on any site and their skills are not valued enough. Involving them in different projects certainly will drive in living for them and revive the lost essence of Indian culture interwoven into architecture. Traditional artists from Rajasthan, Bastar, Gujarat, and many other places of India should be reached out by the designers to instill their projects with a sense of culture and art created by these experts.
“Having our agenda supported by including socially sustainable projects for communities in locations where they are is going to enhance the bespoke and iconic character of sustainable buildings, therefore help communities and therefore help discourse”, says Architect Sonali Rastogi about involving local craftsmen communities in architectural projects.