BHOPAL: Bird Feeders and Nesters from Jaipur (Rajasthan), ‘feather paintings’ from Rampur (Uttar Pradesh) and buffalo-horn jewellery from Sambhal (Uttar Pradesh) are catching the eyes of visitors to Hunar Haat.
The 10-day ‘Hunar Haat’, organised by the Union ministry of minority affairs on the theme of ‘Vocal for Local’, began at the Lal Parade Ground in the city on Friday. The Haat, which will continue till March 21, will be formally inaugurated by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan at 11 am on Saturday in the presence of the Union minority affairs minister, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. More than 600 artisans and craftsmen from 31 states and Union Territories are participating in the event. They have set up a total of 212 stalls.
Mandana art for birds
Neelima Patni from Jaipur, who has brought colourful wooden bird nesters and feeders to the event, says her initiative is aimed at bringing sparrows and other birds back to homes. ‘Feed Birds, Save Birds’ is her campaign. The bird feeders are open while the bird nesters, in which the birds can breed, are closed. What make them attractive are the Mandana paintings on their outer surface. “Mandana art is used by the rich to decorate their homes. I decided to use it to decorate the homes of birds,” Neelima says.
They can be hung in any open space — porches, balconies, gardens, courtyards or terraces. She says that her products got a very good response at Hunar Haat in Delhi. “Some of the buyers told me that, due to the chirping of the birds and their coming and going, they didn’t feel lonely during the lockdown.”
‘Wings of Desire’: Afreen Khan from Rampur (Uttar Pradesh), who is pursuing her MA in Fine Arts from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, is also doing something unique. She uses acrylic and oil colours to make paintings on feathers of birds. She paints portraits and also does calligraphy on feathers. “My work got recognition when I presented a portrait of the Prime Minister to him at Hunar Haat in Delhi,” she says. One of her works includes portraits of Sardar Patel, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Rajendra Prasad and Tilak on feathers arranged in a semicircle. Another depicts authors and poets, including Munshi Premchand and Akbar Allahabadi. Her collection, titled ‘Wings of Desire’ with portraits of Mary Kom, Mother Teresa, Indira Gandhi, Malala Yusufzai and Kalpana Chawla, was exhibited in the US in 2018. Her works are in great demand abroad, too. “I collect feathers. They’re my canvas. By not using paper, I also get the satisfaction that I’m saving trees,” she says.
Buffalo horn combs: Mohammed Ashraf from Sambhal, in Uttar Pradesh, says that making combs from buffalo horns was an art that was perfected by his forefathers. He diversified into using horns and bones for making ear-rings, necklaces, photo frames and many other items. “I got tremendous response at the Hunar Haat in Delhi,” he says.
Gusty wind uproot tents
Strong gusts of wind accompanied by rain in the evening led to uprooting of some tents at the Hunar Haat. Power supply was disrupted, plunging the venue into darkness. The roofs of some tents began leaking. Some of the stall owners closed their stalls before the scheduled time.The cultural programme to be organized in the evening was also cancelled.