The 29th Surajkund International Crafts Mela
Lebanon, A Partner in the 29th Surajkund International Crafts Fair celebrated its National Day at Chaupal on Thursday evening with great enthusiasm and fervor. The Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture of Republic of Lebanon, Mr Akram Chuhayyib; Ambassador of India to Lebanon, Ms. Anita Nayyar and Mr Zahir Ridwan, group leader of Lebanon’s contingent along with other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
Intriguing Russian performance with puppets on the Chaupal of Mela
After the ceremonial lamp lighting and national anthems of both the countries being recited, the dignitaries from Lebanon expressed their gratitude towards Surajkund Fair Authority for offering such a great platform to their country to come to India and showcase their art and culture.
Mr Chuhayyib, Minister of Agriculture, while addressing the gathering at Chaupal said, “It is a matter of great pride for us to be here and be a part of this biggest fair of art and culture. This association will help us further strengthen our bilateral relations.” He further added that India offers a good business market for them to export honey, olive oil and wine and their products are well-received in India and in the future, they see the market expanding for our agro-products.
Mr Ridwan, group leader of Lebanon’s contingent to India, said that they had brought in a variety of exclusive crafts of their country to be showcased at the Fair and their food stall at Fair was serving an authentic range of delicacies, which people must relish.
The cultural programmes presented by Lebanese artistes to a packed Chaupal added to the charm of the celebrations. They were based on popular folklores of Lebanon. The confident gyrating moves of artistes on beats of drums and white flags being waved throughout the performance were indeed the hallmarks of the Lebanese dance troupe’s presentation.
Miniature artist Naveen Sharma shows his piece to visitors at Surajkund Mela
Russia’s mythical connection
Surajkund International Crafts Fair is offering an intriguing cultural treat for one and all. A cultural troupe from Russian Federation at the Fair is presenting the eternal epic Ramayana in the form of a puppet show at Chaupal. Tells Olga, the instructor of the group, “We are a group of 10 and specialise in this form of dance where we hide ourselves behind a sheet and use our handmade big size puppets to perform. These performances need proper hand movements to coordinate the action of the puppets.”
It is their first time at the Fair and they are enjoying all the attention, adds Olga, “People are appreciating our dance style known as Bashhort. We are inspired by Indian religious beliefs and that is why, we choose to enact the story Ramayana through our puppets.”
Interestingly, they very impressively present the part where Shroopnakha approaches Laxman for marriage and he refuses and cuts her nose. Then she complains to Ravana and in turn Ravana kidnaps Sita. Finally, Rama & Laxman leave in search of Sita.
Also this dance group presents interesting dance performances based on the popular legends from their part of the country on stage. A must watch!
A symbol of love, the famous Taj Mahal of Agra had taken years to be built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. All inspired by this iconic monument, national award winner artist, Naveen Sharma, specializes in making miniature paintings and has come to the Fair to exhibit an exclusive painting of his that has 10,000 Taj Mahals. The marvelous painting is displayed at Work-hut # 745. Sharma, who hails from Jaipur told us, “The painting here is a scanned copy because the original one is under a bank’s custody. The commission agents from Oman have valued it for around Rs 300 crores.”
Tribal silk saris from Maharastra on display at Surajkund Mela
So, how much time did Naveen take to create the wonder? “I took four years to make this masterpiece of mine and in that time, I visited Taj Mahal many times. I have always been intrigued by its history. I researched in detail about the construction of the monument and then got on the job of making the painting,” Naveen added. The painting which has been encased in a wooden frame of 20 by 24 inches, and has been made in the Mughal School of painting style from water based stone colours on handmade sheet. Adds Naveen, “I have tried to pictorially document with my brush strokes, a series of events that occurred around the construction of the Taj Mahal.”
Naveen has also brought his creations like oil paintings and miniature art pieces that are on sale at his stall.
On the fifth day, Folk artists from the newly formed state Telangana presented a vibrant and enjoyable experience at the Chaupal on Tuesday, which left the audience in awe.
Artists from Chattisgarh Performing at Chaupal
We have all studied about the famous emperor Genghis Khan as kids.At FC #26,key chains, wall hangings, cushion covers and pouches,bear a seal of the Mongolian emperor and other various symbols which represent Mongolia’s nationalistic sentiments.
Chattisgarh Folk Dance
Ichhi from Mongolia, dressed in Mongolian outfit and headgear, welcomed people,at the stall and told us, that they have various hand crafted embroideries from the elements of the Mongolian culture. She also told us, that all the products and art efacts prepared in Mongolia are dedicated to Genghis Khan and the reason for their visit to India is to promote and make people aware of the rich heritage of Mongolia.
Carpets from Afghanistan at Surajkund Mela
Apart from the outfits and headgear, which is an important part of the Mongolian culture, they have also brought wall hangings and handbags made from pure silk with intricate embroidery.
Mongolian stall at Surajkund Mela showcases beautiful home decor items
Another major attraction at the fair, are the carpets form Afghanistan. This year the exhibits have carefully assorted a wide variety of carpets, to suit the taste, demands and requirements of the Indian buyers. Mohammad Jaan, who has been coming from Afghanistan, to present his beautiful selection of carpets for the last seven years said, “The carpet’s age increases its value. The older the Kaaleen (Carpet) the more expensive it is. Our carpets are hand woven by the women, back in the country. It takes anywhere from forty days to nine months to make one carpet.” The price range of the carpet starts from Rs. 4,000 and goes upto Rs. 1.5 Lakhs.
Unique brassware items on display at Surajkund Mela’s heritage crafts section
G. Balakrishna, who is a national awardee and hails from Andhra Pradesh, has brought an incrediblevariety of intricate and art isticallyengraved wooden panels and statues.Amongst all of his works, the most famous and remarkable is the statue of Balaji, which is made from Neem wood and stands around 12 feet tall.
Ishwar C. Naik is a Chittara artist and a national award winner who is stationed at Work Hut # 956. Naik creates paintings with colours made from rice paste, fruit powder, stone and jute thread.
Crowds swell at Surajkund Mela to get a glimpse of the best of art and crafts of the world
Naik tells us,that his paintings have depictions of the rich culture, conventions, traditions and the life of the Deevaru community which is like a tribal community. He also capturesthe elements of nature and celestial objects in his paintings. All his paintings call out the message that the universe and nature is the supreme force. Some of the other artists like Mohammad Farooq, and his father, Haji Nasiruddin; national awardees and Ship guru award winners, have presented a wide variety of brass items (plated with silver and gold). Farooq claims that his products need negligible maintenance. The products available in his stall are stools, mirrors, vessels and hanging lampshades.
Scintillating international performances
Day two held some of the most extraordinary collages of art and culture at the Surajkund International Crafts Mela. Ajay Kumar Samir, a poet and artist, exhibited a collection of his brilliant paintings, which were based on poems by Sri Narendra Modi. There was a potpourri of the vibrant colours and sketches framed at Work Hut #786. “Through this Mela (fair), I wanted to introduce serious art among visitors and connect with more people.” he said on the occasion.
Samir had earlier made paintings based on the hindi poetry by Former Prime Minister A.B.Vajpayee. He says, that his biggest achievement, is that his drawings are on display at the Prime Minister’s residence. Apart from this, he had also put colours to the poetry of the renowned poet/writer Gulzar. His latest works with the books written by Modi are on sale, at the fair. His works range from Rs. 1,20,000 to Rs. 2,50,000.
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The Chaupal has always been one of the chief attractions at the Mela, where all the cultural events, national and international, come together. On the second day artists from Chhattisgarh performed folk dances, like Panthi and Raut, Kud of J&K, Bidhai of M.P. Kalbelia of Rajasthan and Ghoomer of Haryana.
The gyrating dance of the international folk dancers of Tajikistan and Lebanon left the crowd mersmerised and transfixed. Ostrich eggs, acted as canvases for Issam Mirvat from Lebanon. He had brought real ostrich eggs, catching the attention of onlookers.
“I use acrylic colours to paint flowers and monuments on the eggs. The intricate and artistic part lies in carving these eggs, which takes from one to three hours.”
Then he adds more awe generating effects by showcasing them in transparent containers and fitiing in LED and bulbs that can be lit up. They are priced at Rs. 1800 apiece.
The beautiful symphony, fun and frolic, lip smacking foodstalls, gigantic rides, with smiling faces, make the 28th Surajkund International Crafts Fair (Mela) a must visit.
Intricately designed trays, boxes and side tables made from walnut wood, brought by Mohammed Dib Ajaj from Damascus, Syria are available at Foreign pavilion’s Workhut #FC-33. They cost from Rs. 800 to Rs. 2200 depending on the size, wood-work, and finesse. Hand painted flower vases, teacups and pots, and coasters from Vietnam are on display at Workhut FC-22 from the traditional dresses, silken stoles and hand painted lampshades, the stall is attracing many visitors everyday.
Arun Kumar Bajaj of Patiala, has created a number of portraits and paintings made with thread work. A Smiling and jovial Bajaj at Workhut no.# 946, says “I am a trained embroiderer and sketch artist, so I combined both my talents and have been using thread work to make paintings and portraits. My biggest achievement is my Lord Krishna painting for which I used 27,53,000 meters of thread and it took me three years and an investment of 1.5 lakhs to complete. This painting of mine has got me laurels and now I feature in the Limca Book of Records and India Book of Records.” Bajaj tells us about the plans to auction this creation of his someday.
“It takes around 3 to 4 days to make one portrait with a clear vision and focus. I also do 3-D paintings based on my ideas of life and nature.” His works are on sale starting from Rs 1500 to Rs 12,000.
29th Surajkund International Crafts Mela
The 29th Surajkund International Crafts Mela has opened it’s gates. The theme state for the fair, this year is Chhattisgarh. The whole fair has a vibrant flavor of Chhattisgarh, from their Terracotta art, which is a specialty of the Raigarh, Mandia and Bastar regions of Chhattisgarh to various other cultural attractions in art, painting, music, sculpture, handicrafts, architecture and archaeology.
Terracotta Art holds a very special place among the natives and several tribes of Chhattisgarh. Terracotta figures are kept on the bordering pavement of houses and is believed to ward off evil and unseen forces. The fair has been decorated with some of the most beautiful terracotta displays.
Amongst many other things, Bastar Art, which is a form of tribal art holds a vital position in the heritage and culture of Chhattisgarh. Most of it depicts the Simple agricultural life in the villages.
A woman from Thailand wearing the traditional attire
Another most intruiging architectural brilliance is the Laxman Temple which is considered to be one of the most unique brick architecture in India. The panchrath style of temple depicts timeless art and devotion.
A performer Playing the traditional instrumeny, Turhi
The Mela was inaugurated by Ganesh Vandana followed by kathak with modern twists, such as dancing to Mast Kalandar, Des Rangeela etc. The evening was followed by the performers of the tribal music, with special performance through an instrument known as Turhi.
Performers dancing to “Des Rangeela”
Chhattisgard is righ in it’s vegetation, and has a brilliant variety of medicinal Plans. The tribals at Chhattisgarh practice traditional healing, health and ways of well-being and most of their remedies and cures are based on the plants around them, in the forests. Hence, they have commendably protected the bio-diversity in the areas where they reside in. The fair has a stall with culture of various plants with great medicinal properties which are beneficial to specific, to different parts of the human body.
The seats were jam packed even on the first day.
The whole cultural event was gallant and surprising in every way and was packed even if it was the inaugural day. On the second day, the evening at the Mela, is planning to go all Mediterranean with the performers from Lebanon and with stalls displaying the sheer magic of Lebanese Products and handicrafts.
The vibrant and colourful decorations
The celebrated excavations done at the Devrani Temple unearthed a one-of-a-kind sculpture from the 6th Century A.D. of Lord Shiva, called Rudra, which is a manifestation of one of the many moods/forms of Shiva, called Aghor. The sculpture is a feast for the eyes and food for thought, with a sense of awe, due to its intricacy. It has a depiction of several creatures which depict different parts of Rudra’s Anatomy.
A miniature of Laxman Temple
The actual height of the sculpture of Rudra Shiva is 2.54 m. while its width is 1 m. An imitation, of Rudra Shiva, has also been placed in the fair, for people to wonder and exclaim at.
Brilliant FLoral decorations accompanied the paths in the fair.
It also has stalls from other countries like Thailand, Lebanon amonghts other places and have wonderful Dresses and artifact. For one thing, the fair is mersmerising with brilliant aesthetics, decorations and happiness in all the faces around, with Giant wheels and toy-sellers and other rides, games and food stalls.
The Fair runs till the 15th of February, and during this periods, all kinds of artists, from folk to comedians like Surinder Sharma will be amongst the performers and attendees.
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