'DOKRA' ( BRASS WORK) ART - CRAFTSMEN FROM WEST BENGAL
Artists of Bighna settlement, near Bankura town, West Bengal
Do you love to have beautiful brasswork for decorating your home ?
Craftsmen of Bighna make artefacts for you....... if you are around Bishnupur or Durgapur, please do visit this village, see for yourself how the artists and their family work as a community in design, production and finishing the exquisite articles which go out to various shops in India displaying handicrafts.Here, you get a chance to see what goes inside these artefacts.......the process of'manufacturing' !
My wife and I visited this settlement on NH 68, joining Bankura and Ranigunj (just opposite the FCI godowns) during our return trip from Bishnupur to Calcutta .The experience reminded me of the glass factory I saw in a village near Vaxjo, Sweden, where erstwhile Flak's Head Office and Workshop were located. There also I found members of the same village, often from the same families, working shoulder-to-shoulder.
I read about 'Dokra' artists in an article on the art of late sculptor Meera Mukhopadhyaya, who created the statue of Ashoka that stands in the Garden of Wecome Group's hotel in New Delhi.She developed her technique of castingon the traditional line of 'Dokra' artists.I came across this type of work in Birla Science & Technology Museum, Calcutta during a workshop for'Dokra' artists.I was fortunate to pick up a 16'' Durga , crafted by Juddha karmakar, holder of President's Merit certificate.
Here in Bighna, on 13/12/07, we saw the artists and craftsmen working...... the pace of work was hectic with 'Pousmela',the annual fair @ Shantiniketan, dt. Birbhum ,being less than 2 weeks away. And it was quite an experience.
The main raw material is brass. A soft paste-like material is made by mixing incense- resin,wax and mustard oil and then boiling the same on fire.This material is manipulated to form an elastic strip which is ued in formation of the artefacts .In the photos I publish here, you can see the shapes taking form in the hands of the artist, clay casings with funnels through which liquid metal is poured, drying of the casings, castings after the clay casings have been broken and a typical oven for melting brass ( a simple table-fan providing the draught !!).
The photos of the artefacts speak for themselves.