Akshara and I arrived at the Udaipur Times office early that day. It was exciting to get up early and “go to work”.
Our plan was to go to a photography workshop happening at Shilpgram in the city, to see what we could learn about the event.
The workshop was a 3-day (14-16 December) advanced level course that teaches cultural photography through a more practical approach. This workshop aims to teach post production, (i.e. Photoshop, Editing, etc.); how to caption a photo (and photojournalism), and the art of cultural photography, i.e. the telling of stories of a people (or culture) through a single image.
When speaking to the instructor, Shirish R Karale, about the workshop, he said he had held 156 workshops like this one, and has been in this business for 30 years. When I asked how he got into photography, he said his family worked in the film industry, and so through that he was introduced to it.
The photography workshop began and Mansoor, by co-reporter from UdaipurTimes stayed back to attend the workshop, while Akshara and I explored Shilpgram. We got lucky, as we got to speak to some artisans who had traveled from their villages to sell their handicrafts at the 2018 utsav, starting on the 21st. There were a lot of sculptures and tribal artwork that we got to marvel at.
One such artist was a lady passionately selling her handicrafts to anybody who walked by. She was in the middle of setting up her stall, when we came and started a conversation with her. She was happy to tell us about her items and about herself. Didi sells things all kinds of things from chai glasses to bird whistles that sing beautifully once you dip them in water and play them. She has been doing this for a long time now, and she learnt the art from her family, who are also in the same profession.
Walking around Shilpgram, I got a chance to speak to a lot of people I wouldn’t normally have got the chance to meet. All the artists were happy to tell us how they made their jewelry/handicrafts; we even got a demonstration on how one artist creates earrings using thread that is wound up into little bead like structures. There was a lot of art and sculptures outdoors, that was very inspiring.
We were hungry after exploring the place, so we ordered a Pav bhaji and called it a day. I’d say, it had been a success. I recommend anyone interested to visiting Shilpgram next week (21 December onward), if you are interested in a rich showcase of diverse art from around Rajasthan.