It has barely been a year since the catastrophic cyclone Fani hit the streets of Odisha and the state received yet another major blow by cyclone Amphan. These calamities coupled with the COVID-19 lockdown have done no good to the local artisans of Odisha who are struggling to make their ends meet.
This eastern state is a heritage hub for the country as it houses the famous Puri Jagannath temple and the Konark Sun temple that have many tales, folklore, and legends revolving around them. They are also of immense religious significance.
Odisha is also home to the centuries-old Pattachitra painting style which translates to painting on cloth. Traditional Pattachitra artists, known as Chitrakaras, have been involved in keeping the art alive for many generations now.
However, due to lack of adequate patronage, such artisans, and other craftsmen all around the country often find themselves in poor financial conditions which forces them to look for other jobs.
What was already a pitiful condition only got worsened because of the many calamities and disasters hitting the country and world at large this year.
These are artisans that earn their day-to-day income by working in a traditional fashion of carrying their produce to the market and selling them. Because of the extensive lockdown to curb the Coronavirus from spreading, markets have been shut down and as a result, their sales!
While the government and the NGOs are doing everything in their capacity to offer relief and comfort to such small-scale vendors, it is about time that we view things in a larger scenario. An old saying goes, “If you want to feed someone for life, teach them how to fish.”
The Post-pandemic world is visualized to be digital. It would take a considerable time for the public to recover from the blow of the virus and many would not return to the streets and markets quickly.
It is therefore important that artisans adopt a proactive approach and take their art online. It would be a viable solution to help educate the artisans and acquaint them to the digital world so that they continue making art.
Artisans looking for jobs outside the arts and crafts industry poses the risk of the traditional art forms being lost in time. It is therefore our responsibility to stand in solidarity with the artisans and promote them, ensuring that they live a financially stable, dignified life.
We, at Artisanscrest are proud to be helping local, traditional artisans by giving their arts and crafts exposure on our website.