How the Flea080 fair celebrates ethnic crafts, folk art and indigenous games

How the Flea080 fair celebrates ethnic crafts, folk art and indigenous games

Saturday February 03, 2018,

4 min Read

This weekend promises opportunities for handicraft makers and design entrepreneurs – thanks to the Flea@080 arts and crafts fair in Bengaluru.

PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In this edition, we feature some of the arts and crafts at the Flea@080 market in Bengaluru.

In the earlier 170 posts, we brought you a wide range of creative photographs from an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, street art festival, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

The Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat hosts a number of arts and crafts fairs in Bengaluru, including India’s largest art fair, Chitra Santhe (see my photo essay on the 2018 edition). This weekend, it hosts a flea market called, appropriately, Flea@080 (‘080’ is the phone code for Bengaluru city).

Dozens of stalls this year feature arts, crafts, clothes, decor, jewellery, footwear, pottery, upcycled products, organics, crystals, toys, and much more. Such flea markets are the perfect platform for SMEs, 'artrepreneurs' and designers from across India to showcase their wares - such as EthnicChic (Bengaluru), Prashanth Handicrafts (Bhubaneswar), and Ishma (Hyderabad).

One of the featured organisations is Chaya Nisarga, specialising in handicrafts and traditional Indian games. Tapping into heritage as a resource is not just about nostalgia or cultural preservation, but also good business sense. The company has been selling its games for over 15 years now, said its founder Ravishankar Shinde, in a chat with YourStory.

“Many Indians are not aware of the kinds of art forms that have been around for over 2,000 years,” said Roshni Puthukudi, founder of EthniChic. The engineer-designer brings these art forms to life to mainstream audiences by depicting them on product lines for daily use. These include lamp shades, decor, candle stands, hand mirrors, bangles, trinket boxes, mugs, coasters, trays, clothing, and accessories.

“Since I was inclined towards art from childhood, I was in a continuous journey of learning about these art forms. I feel good if I can educate even a small section of society about these art forms,” said Roshni. She practices Kerala mural, Kalamkari, Tholu Bommalatha, Gond, Phad, Pattachitra, Warli, and other design forms.

“There is a huge market for these art forms if presented in a modern format,” she explains. Her audience is fashion conscious, and wants to be connected to their roots as well. The product lines are also liked for gifting purposes.

Roshni worked for construction firms in Mumbai and Bangalore before the startup bug led her to design. Growing up in a defense background also helped – it exposed her to various art forms in India.

Indian crafts are also being brought into the digital age thanks to startups like Singapore-headquartered Shopmatic. The e-commerce enabler helps small entrepreneurs set up online stores with free templates, social media promotions, integrated payments, and shipping.

“We believe that every artist, every craftsman can truly leverage the Internet for their talent, businesses and ideas,” said Shenaz Bapooji, Chief Marketing Officer of Shopmatic. "Having spent 20 years at Ogilvy, I completely understand and appreciate the pain that goes into creating anything original. And I strongly believe that originality and creativity deserve expression,” she added.

The web can help design entrepreneurs reach beyond their circle of friends and family. This applies not just to students and freelancers but mom-preneurs and even retirees, according to Shenaz. “Seize the day and give your hobby wings,” she signs off.

Now what have you done lately to explore the beauty, value and power of art?

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