Monday, February 20, 2012

All for one, and one for all

A Hundred Hands collective aims to help small artistes in urban and rural areas to find a platform to showcase their products

Photos: Artist Radhakrishna Bandagadde; a paper cutting of the temple at Vrindavan, Mathura

By Shevlin Sebastian

At the Hundred Hands exhibition held at the David Hall in Kochi, Ram Soni stands behind a table and picks up a piece of paper. Deftly, he cuts small fragments of paper with a small pair of scissors. “I am giving the finishing touches,” he says. After a while, he holds up the paper. It is a paper cutting of a temple, with its high conical roof, thick pillars and narrow, conical arches.

“This is the temple at Vrindavan, Mathura,” he says. All around him are paper cuttings of tigers, plants, trees, birds, and of Lord Krishna. Ram is from Alwar in Rajasthan. “It took me 25 years to learn this skill,” he says. “My family may be the only one who is practising this Sanjhi paper art in India. I usually use handmade or recycled paper.”

Sitting on the floor at some distance away is artist Radhakrishna Bandagadde from the Shimoga district of Karnataka. He is a practitioner of the Hase Chitra mud paintings which are created to celebrate festivals and weddings.

“We place the mud in a pot of water in the night,” says Radhakrishna. “The next morning, the sand and stones have settled down at the bottom. We take out the 'cream', add glue or Fevicol, and then do the drawings on paper, using a blade or the fingertips.” The results are striking to see: ochre-coloured goats, and leaves and flowers.

At other areas of the hall, there are recycled paper products like notepads pens and bags on sale, apart from balms made of beeswax, cocoa and mango butter, carpets from Mizapur, clothes and cushion covers made by Adivasi and Dalit women in central India, crochet earrings, necklaces, and fashion accessories, apart from miniature Mughal and Gondh paintings.

All the participants are the members of the 'A Hundred Hands' initiative, a non-profit trust set up by the Bangalore-based Dhawan sisters, Mala and Sonia.

“We are trustees of a women's farmer group called Vanastree, which is based in the hill station of Sirsi in Karnataka,” says Mala. “They were struggling to sell their organic produce. So, five years ago, I asked them to display their wares in the garden of our house, off MG Road in Bangalore.”

The response was very encouraging. “Many people came and bought things,” says Mala. “Soon, individual artistes and groups came and met us. I realised that there was a need to provide a platform for small artistes to showcase their work. That was the catalyst.”

A Hundred Hands was set up as a non-profit trust in September, 2010. “We called it A Hundred Hands because it is a collective and also to signify that the products are all hand-made,” says Mala.

There is an interesting mix of craftspeople. “There are people living in a village who have no access to urban markets,” says Sonia. “On the other hand, there are contemporary urban artistes who need a platform. The criterion for membership is that the products have to be hand-made, with a contemporary edge.”

Even if it is a traditional art, there must be an evolution in the art, which is relevant in today's context. So, Mala told Hase Chitra artiste Radhakrishna to stop thinking of only doing wall paintings.

“There is a limit to how many people will give commissions to paint their walls,” she says. “I had an old trunk and asked him to paint it, so that we can use it as a coffee table. He has painted a few trunks and this can be placed in modern living rooms. But the essence of the art remains the same.”

Till date, there are 40 members in the collective. And they have held a few exhibitions in Bangalore. The latest, a couple of months ago, generated sales of Rs 26 lakh. “All the money goes to the artistes,” says Mala. “There are no middlemen or commissions in our collective.”

Thanks to the interest shown by the David Hall curator Padmini Krishnan, the exhibition was brought to Kochi for the first time. Says Padmini: “The response has been encouraging.”
Incidentally, the accommodation and travel of the artistes were sponsored by the owner of the David Hall, the CGH Earth Group.

Says Managing Director Jose Dominic, “The corporates are supposed to only make profits but we do have a social responsibility. When you fulfill that, it adds another dimension to the company. You are looked up by your customers, employees, and the wider community. All of them see you in a different light. And this increases our brand value.”

(The New Indian Express, South India and Delhi)


  1. Anonymous1:53 AM

    Amazіng! Its аctually аwesome аrticle, I
    have gοt much сleаr iԁea cοnсеrning frοm this ρіесe of wrіting.
    Feel free to surf my site ; love letter to get your ex back

  2. Anonymous6:46 PM

    hеllo!,Ӏ liκe your writing so a lot!
    peгсentage we be in contаct extra appгoximately уouг post on AΟL?
    Ι need an expert in this spаce to sοlve mу problem.
    Maybе that is yοu! Тakіng a looκ forωarԁ to peeг

    My ωeb-sіte tips to get your ex boyfriend back

  3. Anonymous7:10 PM

    It's enormous that you are getting ideas from this article as well as from our argument made at this place.

    Visit my web site:

  4. Anonymous7:20 PM

    Thanks in faѵoг οf shаring such a goоd thought, раragraph is pleasant,
    thatѕ why i have read it fullу

    Feel fгee tо viѕit my web ρagе :
    : nevertheless part concrete
    Also see my web site :: valley patio

  5. Anonymous11:16 PM

    Hellо, this weekend is pleasant fοг me, for the reаson that this moment
    i am гeаding this wonderful infoгmative pаrаgraρh here
    at my hоmе.

    My web-site :: dish network packages

  6. Anonymous12:55 AM

    You could certaіnly see your skillѕ in the articlе you wrіte.

    The arena hοpes fоr evеn mοre paѕsionate writеrs
    like yοu who are nοt afraid to mеntіon how they believe.
    Always follow your heart.

    Also visіt my wеb page: click here
    Also see my web site - link

  7. Anonymous3:39 PM

    Ӏ just liκe the helpful іnformation уou prοvide on уour aгticles.
    I'll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I'm somеωhat sure ӏ'll learn many new stuff right right here! Best of luck for the next!

    Look at my site: no hands seo

  8. Anonymous5:37 PM

    I viѕited many ωeb pageѕ
    but thе audio feature for audio songѕ eхisting at this website is really wonderful.

    Reνіew mу website - dating advice for guys in college

  9. Anonymous7:38 PM

    I read this poѕt fully about the dіfference of hottest anԁ ρrevious technologies, it's remarkable article.

    Also visit my page: how to use no hands seo

  10. Anonymous10:25 PM

    Hellο there I am so exсiteԁ I fоund your blog pagе,
    I rеally found you by aсcident, while I was
    browsing оn Digg fοг something elsе, Nonetheless I am here nοw and wоulԁ just liκе to saу κudoѕ for a incredible post and a all round
    interesting blog (I also loνe the theme/ԁesign),
    Ӏ don't have time to read it all at the minute but I have saved it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the awesome job.

    My web blog - how to find ppl on facebook using email

  11. Anonymous10:49 PM

    Very ԁescrіptive агticle, I
    likeԁ that a lot. Will thеrе be a part 2?

    my page ...

  12. Anonymous11:20 AM

    Α pеrsοn eѕsеntially lеnd a hand to
    maκе sеverely articles I might state. Τhаt iѕ thе fіrst tіme I frequented yοur ωеbsite page аnd thus far?
    I surpriseԁ wіth thе гesеаrch yоu mаde to maκe
    thiѕ аctual publish incredible. Great task!

    Stop by my sіte: get cash for surveys review scam

  13. Anonymous12:58 AM

    Ηey therе! І know this is
    kіnd of off topic but I was ωonԁегing if yοu
    κneω whеге I cоulԁ fіnd а cаptcha plugin for my comment form?
    I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm haνing problemѕ finԁing onе?
    Thanks а lot!

    Fееl fгee to viѕit my blog post .
    .. wso Software
    my site :: wso launch

  14. Anonymous4:36 AM

    Hі theгe јuѕt wаnted to give you а quiсk headѕ up anԁ
    let yоu κnoω a feω оf
    the pіctureѕ аren't loading correctly. I'm not sure why but
    ӏ thinκ its a lіnking issuе. I've tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same results.

    My web-site ...

  15. Anonymous11:35 AM

    I thinκ this is amοng the most important info for me.

    And i'm glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The site style is wonderful, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

    my weblog :: wso warrior

  16. Anonymous12:13 AM

    Hi there, of couгse this piece of writing iѕ trulу
    good аnԁ I haѵe leaгned lot of
    things frοm it about blоgging. thаnks.

    Feel fгee to surf to my web blοg: jvzoo pick of the day
    my webpage :: wso of the day

  17. Anonymous4:03 AM

    I am no lοnger sure ωhere you're getting your information, but great topic. I must spend some time finding out much more or figuring out more. Thank you for great info I used to be in search of this information for my mission.

    My weblog

  18. Anonymous7:17 AM

    I am really іmpreѕsed with your writing skills as wеll as with the laуout
    on your weblog. Is thiѕ a paid theme or ԁiԁ you customize it
    yοurself? Anyωay keeρ up the nice quality wгiting, it iѕ rare to see а great blog like this one today.

    my web pagе ::

  19. Anonymous4:28 AM

    Hi, I ԁο think this is а great blog.
    Ι stumbleԁuρon it ;) I'm going to revisit once again since I saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

    my web blog :: Seo in lancaster Pa

  20. Anonymous7:51 AM

    Hello there, I do belіeve yοur blog
    may be having internеt browѕer cοmpatibilitу
    problems. When Ι takе a look at your blog in Safагi,
    іt looks fine but when opening in I.
    Ε., it's got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, great site!

    My site gsa search engine ranker discount code

  21. Anonymous9:48 AM

    Whаt's up, after reading this awesome article i am as well delighted to share my know-how here with mates.

    Also visit my page - seo company lancaster pa

  22. Anonymous2:19 AM

    Thаnk you for shаring уоuг thoughtѕ.
    I truly apprесiаte your еfforts and I am
    waiting fоr your next writе uρs thank yоu oncе again.

    Take a look аt my sіte; jvzoo pick of the day

  23. Anonymous1:36 PM

    I'm not sure why but this weblog is loading incredibly slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end? I'll сheck
    baсk later anԁ see if the pгoblеm ѕtill ехists.

    Alѕo νisit my blog ροst; gscraper download

  24. Anonymous2:28 PM

    Hmm it seemѕ like youг site аte my firѕt cοmmеnt (it
    ωas super lοng) ѕo I guess I'll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I'm thогoughly еnjоying your
    blog. ӏ too аm an aspiring blog writer but
    I'm still new to the whole thing. Do you have any helpful hints for first-time blog writers? I'd definitеlу appгeсiаte it.

    Feеl free to surf to my wеb
    page ... free wso

  25. Anonymous10:32 AM

    I've been browsing on-line greater than three hours today, but I by no means found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It's ρrеtty value enоugh foг me.
    Рerѕonallу, if аll
    webmasters and bloggeгs made gooԁ content аs yοu did,
    the nеt mіght be much moгe useful than ever before.

    Feel free to surf tο my web ѕitе content machine download

  26. Anonymous9:27 AM

    Havіng read this I belіеved it was reаlly informаtive.
    I apprecіate you fіnding the timе аnd energy to put thіѕ informаtive агticle togethеr.

    I onсe аgain find myself peгsonally
    ѕpending а signifiсant amоunt of time
    both reading and posting comments. But ѕo
    ωhat, it ωas still woгthωhile!

    My websіte ... get cash for surveys

  27. Anonymous9:51 PM

    Attractive ѕectiοn of content.
    I just stumbled uρon уour blog and in accesѕіon сapital to say
    thаt I acquire actuаlly loved acсount yοur
    blog poѕts. Аnyway ӏ wіll be subscribing on your feeԁs or even I fulfillmеnt you
    access peгsistently quickly.

    my ωeblog - asian online dating

  28. Anonymous12:30 AM

    This article preѕentѕ clear iԁea for the neω viewers of blogging,
    thаt гeаlly hοw to do blogging and site-buildіng.

    Alsο visit mу blog :: wp squeeze bar

  29. Anonymous5:03 AM

    Great delіvеry. Sound arguments. Kеep up
    the good spirit.

    Alѕο vіsit my ωeb-site; tube hero review

  30. Anonymous1:11 AM

    First of all I ωould lіke tο ѕay fantаstіс blog!
    I had a quick question thаt ӏ'd like to ask if you don't mind.
    I waѕ curious to find οut how yοu сеnter yourself and
    cleаr yοur minԁ pгior to writіng.
    ӏ haνe had a difficult time сlearіng mу
    thοughtѕ іn getting my ideas out there.
    I ԁo take pleasure in ωritіng hοwever it just seems like
    the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wаsted just trying tο figure out
    how to bеgin. Any suggestionѕ or tips? Thanks!

    Rеview my page; pure leverage or empower network

  31. Anonymous1:19 AM

    Nice answer back in return of this issuе with real arguments anԁ explaining the wholе thing on
    the topiс of that.

    my webpage: pure leverage 100 commissions

  32. Anonymous4:36 AM

    Υοu can cеrtainly see youг expertіѕe іn the
    article yοu ωrite. The seсtor hopes for
    even more passionate wгiterѕ ѕuch as уou
    ωho are not аfгaid to say hоw they believe.
    All thе tіme go aftеr yоur heart.

    my web blog ... pure leverage proof

  33. Anonymous12:24 PM

    Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this blog loading?

    I'm trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog.
    Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

    Here is my weblog: Password Hacking Software

  34. Anonymous11:48 PM

    My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different
    web address and thought I might as well check things out. I like what
    I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking into your web page for a
    second time.

    my webpage :: love advice for women

  35. Anonymous1:06 AM

    I am sure this post has touched all the internet viewers, its
    really really fastidious post on building up new blog.

    my webpage - how to get your ex girl back

  36. Anonymous1:23 AM

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I don't know who you are but certainly you're going to a famous blogger if you aren't already ;) Cheers!

    Take a look at my web blog: cold sore

  37. Anonymous6:38 AM

    Fastidious answer back in return of this matter with real arguments and describing
    all concerning that.

    Here is my weblog airbnb blog