Art Illuminates Mankind (AIM) organized a 3 day cultural event from 27th to 29th September at the Cultural Research Institute (CRI) complex in Kankurgachi, Kolkata. There were three-day workshops – Arts of Banga: An Ethnological Heritage Re-Appraisal 2016 on puppetry, kantha and woodwork had been organised to create awareness among the general public and also to develop the market sustainability of these crafts passed on through generations.
Kantha, woodcraft and puppetry hold a very special place in the life of the people of backward classes in Bengal even today. The artisans from backward class have always been considered to be the real masters of these crafts. The workshop, currently in its fourth year, will celebrate kantha, puppetry, woodcraft, boat competition and other art forms.
A Puppet, Kantha, Boat along with a Ethnographic Museum which were made and constructed by AIM with the support of Govt of West Bengal have been opened for the visitors. A new Souvenir Shop has been opened by AIM to market the fair trade products by the artisans. The shop will display different handicraft items from all over India.
The theme of this year is Bengal Puppetry. India has a rich heritage in puppetry. Contrary to popular belief, puppetry did not come to India and Asia from the West. In fact, artisans from Asia went to the West with their craft. However, the very survival of this rich medium whose origins can be traced to the times before Buddha is at stake.
A book titled Bangler Putul or Puppets of Bengal was released. The book is a pictorial depiction of Bengal Puppets collected by the Museum. The book is designed and printed by ROOTS, publication wing of AIM.
AIM is a member of Fair Trade Forum India, based in West Bengal.