Bhubaneswar: To showcase India’s rich handicraft heritage and make it accessible for the world to experience, Google Arts and Culture unveiled its latest exhibit, ‘Crafted in India’. In partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Dastkari Haat Samiti and 20 other cultural institutions, the project, available at g.co/craftedinindia, gives people an immersive tour of varied Indian craft forms — from fabrics to embroidery, wall paintings to stonework, metal casting to wood carving, celebrates the artisans behind it, and promotes heritage tourism in India.
From Kerala to Kashmir, Kutch to Kohima, and all 29 Indian states, over 50 of India’s crafts will now be on ‘Crafted in India’ — the largest online exhibition on Indian Crafts. Orissa’s majestic silver filigree work, also known as Chandi Tarkashi, that dates back to the 16th century, is a prominent feature of the exhibit. People can explore the intricate designs employed by the artisans in silver filigree ornaments, decorative pieces and utilitarian products (like trays, bowls, platters, plaques, photo frames, tiny cones) as they navigate through the exhibit. They can further uncover the making-of the majestic silver throne made for major festivals like Durga Puja.
Beyond Chand Tarkashi, viewers from across the globe can now virtually visit the training centres of Barapali where young potters learning more about making terracotta tiles from master craftsman Manbodh Rana, and incorporate elements and inspirations from their surroundings, turning what was once a utilitarian object into a source of delight.
‘Crafted in India’ also features exhibits such as the exquisite basketry of the Angami Nagas, the Bell Metal Craft of Payyanur, the 300 year old Mata Ni Pachedi textile art of Gujarat among 280+ other online exhibitions, 11,000+ images and videos. Viewers can also discover the story behind Channapatna Toys, conceptualized by Tipu Sultan back in the 18th century, and experience the making of Chhau Masks — a flamboyant mask-making craft used for traditional Chhau dancers who perform across villages in West Bengal and Odisha. Moreover, viewers can travel behind-the-scenes, to the cities, towns and villages of craftspeople, who have helped preserve and nurture varied craft forms — including the 500-year-old Kashmiri Sozni embroidery or Andhra Pradesh’s ancient craft of leather puppet making.
Amit Sood, Senior Director, Google Arts & Culture, said, “Google is committed to preserving artistic and cultural treasures around the world. Over the years we have done many projects in India that puts a global spotlight on India’s rich culture, and celebrates the people behind it. The wealth of history and culture that Indian crafts exhibit is breathtaking. It’s an honor to partner with the Ministry of Tourism and Dastkari Haat Samiti to put spotlight on incredible handicraft traditions, to preserve them on Google Arts & Culture and most importantly to celebrate the people behind them. I am confident people around the world, but also Indians will be as amazed – as I was – by the exhibit and little nuggets like the fact that Lambani women continue to create rhythms with needle and thread and their work is popular among people across cities.”
Jaya Jaitly, President, Dastkari Haat Samiti said, It has been a great opportunity to work with Google Arts & Culture. What struck me was how the project kept expanding as the beauty of our country was being unfolded by our photographers. Through great imagery, we wanted to tell a deeper story of Indian crafts and its people. India proves itself as a country of multiple cultural stories that carry different traditions, communities, languages, style of dressing and lifestyles. I hope the world recognises and honours these living traditions through the Crafted in India project.
21 partner institutions have contributed to making the initiative a reality, including the Academy of Fine Arts and Literature, Avani Society, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Craft Revival Trust, Crafts Museum, Devi Art Foundation, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, Indian Museum Kolkata, JD Centre of Art, Jaipur Virasat Foundation, Museum of Art & Photography, National Museum, Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Salar Jung Museum, Sanskriti Museum, SEWA Hansiba Museum, Surabhi Foundation, Worldview Impact Foundation, among others.
Google Arts & Culture has partnered with more than 2000 institutions in 80 countries globally, with 50 million people using the Google Arts & Culture platform every month. In India, Google Arts & Culture has partnered with over 75 cultural institutions to bring India’s rich culture online, and features more than 250 monuments and 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Users all around the world can explore these on Google Arts & Culture website and mobile app for free.