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'Project Namage' in the 'City Of Toy' to revive Channapatna craft

Project Namage in the City Of Toy to revive Channapatna craft
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'Project Namage' in the 'City Of Toy' to revive Channapatna craft

Highlights

NICC International College of design student Alim Narsingani under Guidance of Dr Akash K Rose, director of the college, started working on 'Project Namage' that follows the theme of 'Vocal for Local' and it is based on a lifestyle product design project at NICC which was born with the idea and the passion to give back to the society.

Bengaluru: NICC International College of design student Alim Narsingani under Guidance of Dr Akash K Rose, director of the college, started working on 'Project Namage' that follows the theme of 'Vocal for Local' and it is based on a lifestyle product design project at NICC which was born with the idea and the passion to give back to the society.

The objective of this project is to give a new lease of life to the dying tradition of Channapatna craft by creating a new line of commercial products which would in turn support, facilitate and empower artisans in improving their standard of living.

The craft of Channapatna is fast dying due to the flood of cheap Chinese toys.

The craftsmen barely make their ends meet what with the onslaught of the Chinese toys.

Dr Rose said since the late 18th century till day, artisans in Channapatna town continue to practice the craftsmanship that their forefathers had passed down through generations. Channapatna, 60 km from Bengaluru, is known for the lacquerware art - specially the wooden toys that are both entertaining and educational. The traditional craft enjoys Geographical Indication (GI) under the World Trade Organization.

"The artisans are the soul of this art, they possess magic to translate our culture into something that one can see, feel and touch, express and experience. It is unbelievable to see the struggles that the artisans go through just to meet their needs like food and shelter," he said.

"I have been in the toys industry for the past 20 years. Around 10 artisans work under me. There is no support from the government. Artisans are migrating for greener pastures to Bengaluru and Mysore. The new generation is not interested in learning the skill," said Altaf khan, an artist from Channapatna said.

A lot of skilled artisans are leaving this tradition in search for better earning. Cheaper Chinese toys have taken over the market while the demand for handmade toys has drastically gone down.

Narsingani stated that traditional crafts are often undervalued. "I spent more than two months in the toy town to understand the people, their context and the craft. By then I had fallen in love with this art form. The mentors at NICC worked along with the student and they started working on the concepts of lighting design. The thought here was to collaborate with the artisans of Channapatna and create something in fresh new ways. That is how the project ನಮಗೆ Namage was born. The name of the project derives its name from Kannada word Namage which means "us" evolving the idea of exchange and dialogue between us as designers and the artisans."

"As part of the project, I created a series of lamps inspired by the anatomy of the insects. Each product has its own innovation in terms of functionality. I believe that design is always about solving problems and giving a delightful user experience. One of the lamps that I have designed, aesthetically inspired by lady bug, solves the problem of sleeplessness by reducing the thoughts and improving concentration," Narsingani said.

Since the completion of my course at NICC, his start-up has been continuing to work hand in hand with the artists of channapatna with the motive to save this endangered craft skill. "I aim to expand into different areas of products and different crafts to be able to give employment and good living to the craftsmen. It is the best time for all of us to boost and support the local skills and value our rich traditions," he summed up.

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