Vector (3)

mayurbhanj

Vector (3)

Patronage to Preservation

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This installation pays homage to the craft and culture of the eastern region of Mayurbhanj, Odisha. Santhal tribal inspirations from the region are given a contemporary spin and some local gendered clothing notions are tweaked. The result is a refreshing new take on an ancient practice that’s perfect for our times.
the installation
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At the centre of this series is the phuta sari. Two saris are used here - the body made from coarse cotton and the other, repurposed as a cape, made of linen/ghicha silk with cotton. The kacha, a distinct dhoti drape worn by the men of the tribe, was converted into the petticoat over which the phuta sari was draped.

The cape was chosen to symbolize empowerment and self-importance. But it also served to highlight style sustainability. Instead of showing sustainability through just recycling or upcycling, we want to show how a piece of clothing can be transformed into so many different outfits - why buy many multiple outfits when you can create new looks with what you already have?

If you’re looking for the blouse, there is none. Because this represents the local women’s preference for drapes that do not use a blouse - an unusual practice even when seen from the usual lens of today’s “modern” sensibilities.

By matching this exquisite santal sari with dokra jewellery, we tell the story of two coexisting art forms that come together to create something contemporary yet rooted in tradition.

Local sabai grass handicraft artistry is showcased by using these as props around the installation.

a tradition of sustainability
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  • All products sourced from within a 100 km radius, purchased directly from artisans
  • The dokra handicrafts were made with used brass utensils
  • Sabai is 100% vegan and uses no chemicals, low level of water and no pesticides

Textiles are like languages. If families abandon them, they will die.

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Akshita M. Bhanj Deo
know the craft
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2Mayurbhanj
Dokra

This ancient method of making metal artefacts is still in use today. It is non-ferrous metal casting using the lost-wax technique. One of the earliest known lost-wax artefacts is the famous 'dancing girl of Mohenjodaro'

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Phuta Jhala

These distinctive check saris are handwoven with thick low count cotton. Once commonly worn by locals in Mayurbhanj, very few clusters today make this traditional sari.

1Mayurbhanj
Sabai Grass

This grass is usually cultivated in greater Mayurbhanj and in some parts of Nepal and China. The local craftsmen here cut the strands, bunch them together as needed, add them to boiling water with natural and vegetable dyes before drying it in the sun.

Dokra

Phuta Jhala

Sabai Grass

know the craft
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Dokra

This ancient method of making metal artefacts is still in use today. It is non-ferrous metal casting using the lost-wax technique. One of the earliest known lost-wax artefacts is the famous 'dancing girl of Mohenjodaro'

Phuta Jhala

These distinctive check saris are handwoven with thick low count cotton. Once commonly worn by locals in Mayurbhanj, very few clusters today make this traditional sari.

Sabai Grass

This grass is usually cultivated in greater Mayurbhanj and in some parts of Nepal and China. The local craftsmen here cut the strands, bunch them together as needed, add them to boiling water with natural and vegetable dyes before drying it in the sun.

Brought to Life at

The Belgadia Palace
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This 200-year-old palace-turned-homestay is an 18th century Victorian brick-built double-storey structure built in the classical Western style of Doric-Corinthian column, a mixture of Greek and Victorian architecture. The property promotes responsible and purposeful travel experiences by enabling visitors to engage with the local tribal community and through curated tours that explore the true soul of Odisha. The present-day occupants of the palace are Praveen Chandra Bhanj Deo who is the 47th ruler of the Bhanja dynasty and his wife Rashmi Rajya Laxmi of Mayurbhanj who belongs to the royal family of Jaisalmer.

Brought to Life with

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  • Dokra obtained from 2 families in Kuliana Village
  • Sabai grass for the backdrop acquired from Guhaldiha SHG
  • Conceptualised with support from Lipsa Hembram (Galang Gabaan)
royal patronage today
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The royal family of Mayurbhanj opened up their property, The Belgadia Palace, an 18th-century palace in 2019 to function as a platform whereby a percentage of funds from guests staying at the property is earmarked for use by the Mayurbhanj Foundation through which they conduct activities to increase livelihoods and development indicators in Odisha’s largest district. The idea is to use the property more as a platform to divert funds into the district’s small and medium-sized enterprises primarily in the arts to improve livelihoods and positively impact 100,000 lives in 10 years.

They begin by conducting research on finding new SHG's, community organizations, and even artisan clusters and take tourists who stay in their palace to meet these organizations and artisans to increase market linkages for these communities. In addition, they connect global development organizations to communities who may need them, and invite local artists to the palace and have them interact with guests to learn about dying crafts in the region, and run an artist residency to popularize cross-cultural knowledge sharing and encourage people to invest in these clusters to preserve and promote the handloom and handicraft sector in the eastern region.

In 2020, to aid artists during the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, the royal family started their inhouse brand Hasa Atelier, which combines art forms like Sabai, Dokra and handlooms from Odisha to make a sustainable luxury lifestyle capsule collection. The aim of Hasa Atelier is to get more artisans digitally connected to their consumers and have people be more educated about the endangered art forms of Odisha.

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