Sanjeev Satgainya

Kathmandu:

Kathmandu is a world heritage city that comprises ancient art, medieval sculpture, poetry and the finest of architecture. Yet the very artisans who have devoted their whole lives in recreating and preserving the oldest forms of arts are in dire need of aid.

Resurrecting dying art and encouraging these precious traditions, though, seems to be a tall task but some enthusiastic conservationists are putting up a good try. On January 7, Crafted in Kathmandu brought together the work of more than 100 artisans at an exhibition-cum-sale programme at Bakery Café. Crafted in Kathmandu is one of the organisations with Worldwide Market Square, which comprises such conservation bodies spread worldwide. Exquisite metal carvings, clay artifacts, stone figurines, musical instruments, paper art, wood work, textiles, ceramics, terracotta and pots were displayed at the show.

Anil Chitrakar of Crafted in Kathmandu shared, “It’s not charity. We are not doing anything in the name of conservation. This is simply a business and through this business we want to get our artisans recognised worldwide and, perhaps, do our bit to preserve our ancient culture.” And indeed — be it a table lamp beautifully built in the famous Bhaktapur black clay and lokta (Nepali paper) or a silver lion (believed to be a fourth century art object) crafted delicately by one of the ethnic communities of Kathmandu — they are superb and hold dear the cultural values of the city as well as its heritage. Bitarak.com is the marketing partner of Crafted in Kathmandu that looks after the distribution of these products. Suman Shakya, CEO, bitarak.com, said, “Ours is a wonderful city which has a tradition of art and craft since time immemorial. We promote these artisans and help their creations reach global frontiers.” This was the first combined effort by Crafted in Kathmandu and bitarak.com to exhibit their work but Chitrakar said that more such shows are in the offing in the near future.