New Delhi, 2017.07.31 (Sunday Guardian Live): India is home to a large variety of local art forms which are there for centuries and have been practiced for centuries. They are a testimony to the skills of local artisans. One such art form is Sanjhi. It is the art of hand cutting stencils from paper to create patterns on the floor. It is believed that this particular form has its origins in Mathura and Vrindavan, the birthplace of Lord Krishna. As a part of the temple rituals in this region, intricate multi-coloured rangoli or floor patterns have been created, for hundreds of years. There is a generous use of coloured powder using stencils. The art depicts Indian mythological stories in numerous forms. But over time, the use of Sanjhi declined steadily and the numbers of artisans practising the craft were reduced to just a few families.
Delhi Crafts Council has been involved in reviving this dying art for more than three decades now. Its first exhibition of Sanjhi was called Kagaz and was presented in Delhi in 1990. This gave a certain visibility to the craft and opened up many possibilities including the involvement of several designers in this craft.
The Council held another exhibition in 2015, exploring the possibilities of using Sanjhi in contemporary interiors. Now in 2017, one more exhibition is planned which will introduce the viewers with Sanjhi Art.
Sanjhi Revisited is a five-day exhibition which will be held at Visual Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre, Delhi from 8-12 August, 2017. The exhibition has been conceptualised and curated by the Delhi Crafts Council as one of the special events marking the council’s golden jubilee this year. It will showcase new concepts based on the theme of architecture.
Talking about the exhibition, Radhika Bharat Ram, General Secretary, Delhi Craft Council, says, “The exhibition has been specially curated to mark the golden jubilee of Delhi Crafts Council. It will feature an entirely different concept of using architecture as the theme. The Council has collaborated with the artists to create works that have not been seen before in Sanjhi. The fact that the Exhibition is one of the special events marking its Golden jubilee this year makes it all the more meaningful as it is bound to bring into sharp focus this traditional art form and give it a more contemporary feel and flavour.”
She adds, “We are happy to have contributed to the development and revival of this marvelous tradition. Our support to the artisans lies in designing and marketing new products for this remarkably versatile craft. We dedicate this exhibition to the skilled Sanjhi artisans of Mathura who over the years have remained committed to the development of the craft and have continued to practise and nurture it.”
The show will be on view at Visual Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre, Delhi, from 8-12 August