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Celebrating craft

India Craft Week was born out of an intense desire to narrate the ‘untold stories’ of India’s very own artisans and their craft, and to give the world a view to their stories

From the beautiful valleys of Kashmir to the quaint villages of Andhra, from the pictorial hills of Manipur to the starkly beautiful deserts of Rajasthan – India is a treasure chest of stories, some lingering on for centuries, while others are yet to be told.

Home to millions of artisans, with deep roots in the region they come from, their crafts are a window to the country’s rich culture and geography. Thus, out of an intense desire to narrate the ‘untold stories’ of India’s very own artisans and their craft, and to give the world a view to their stories, India Craft Week (ICW) was born.

It is an initiative that connects rural and urban communities of craftspersons, contemporary artists and brands, formulating an ecosystem where all can interact, create and celebrate Indian craft. This second edition of ICW will bring opportunities to interact with leading craftspersons, thought leaders, brand figureheads, critics and artists, with an interesting schedule of talks, workshops, exhibitions, films and creative encounters.

This year will also witness participation from more than 150 participants including brands, designers, artisans and makers, performers and celebrities from across the world. Gracing ICW this year are award-winning artists like Shakir Ali, Bhajju Shyam, Abdul Gafur Khatri, Manisha Jha, Erroll Pires Nelson, Anwar Chitrakar, Om Prakash Galav, Kalyan Joshi, Lalita Vakil, Mahamaya Sikdar, Majid Mir, Rasheed Qadri and many more national and international award winning artisans.

Born out of passion to support India’s rich heritage and culture, Nari Shakti Puraskar awardee Iti Tyagi initiated this journey with an aim to celebrate the fine artistry of hand-made products while building a bridge between traditional artisans and global buyers/consumers to interact and appreciate crafts under one roof.

“India Craft Week 2019 focuses on strengthening the purchase of traditional art and crafts, bringing together craftspeople and contemporary makers on a single creative platform while allowing them to absorb our rich heritage. It is a true celebration of exceptional craftsmanship. The craft industry is often perceived as commercially inactive, and a well curated ICW hopes to change that perception,” says Iti Tyagi, Founder of India Craft Week, as she shares her vision for the 2019 craft week.

Since India Craft Week is about the makers who do finest craftsmanship, they are hand-picked by invitation based on unique work they do. The brands that are participating are GMR, JW Marriott, Arttdinox by Jindal Steel, Craft Beton by Dalmia Cement, Ambiente, Anahata, Fanusta, Aranya, Glass Sutra,  HutK, Ekum, House of Tuhina, Vedin, Iguana, Pure Earth, Studio Patterned, Emcee Beauty, Earth & Soul, Ishatvam, and many others.

“It is truly amazing to see the variety of work and the level of craftsmanship which is being exhibited over here at India Craft Week. Kudos to the founders for bringing together like-minded creatives on a single platform,” says Rahul Mishra, an acclaimed fashion designer.

ICW takes place in the first week of December each year, and is more than just a week-long event. It is a constant journey that aims towards bringing together Indian crafts and its makers in their various forms to co-exist, co-create and learn. Traditional masters of art, contemporary innovators of the field as well as organisations with craft at their core, all gather collectively to engage in a dialogue.

The showcase unites both traditional and contemporary, which includes works from fine artisans, designers, brands, international craft awardees in the form of rare crafts of India, workshops, traditional and tribal paintings, folk dance and music, craft luxe, craft installation and craft symposium.

“Positioning of traditional craftspeople along with contemporary artists is important. While contemporary artists and their work is mostly restricted to art galleries, at India Craft Week, both traditional and contemporary makers are being uplifted equally. This shows that there is a respect for craft and a huge upscaling both in people’s minds and the work that is displayed. More power to ICW!” says Jaya Jaitley, founder of Dastkari Haat Samiti, who was a panelist at ICW 2018.

The five-day event finds its home in close vicinity to Delhi Airport in Aerocity. Being a first connect to India for travellers coming in from International Airport Terminal 3, the location is a perfect contact point to highlight the richness of Indian tradition, culture and crafts to the world.

“India Craft Week is an attempt to mark a new beginning for Aerocity as the neo-culture destination for people from across the world to come and explore India, and our role is to connect the contemporary with our rich heritage. At GMR we firmly believe in preserving and promoting rare and exclusive crafts,” says Aman Kapoor, who heads Aerocity.

Indian Craft Week is scheduled from 4 December to 8 December 2019, at GMR Aerocity, New Delhi