Most experts believe civilization - as we know it - started 6000 years ago. 6000 years is a long time - time enough for all of us to spread throughout the world, evolve, grow and learn as independent communities. Communities that over centuries developed their own beliefs, social systems, language, art and culture. Some cultures developed early, some died early, some stood strong, some we’ll never know existed. But what we know is each culture was and is unique and beautiful in it’s own way.
As every day goes by, we move one step closer to leaving behind elements of some culture that stood the test of time until now. Did you know that we lose 9 languages to oblivion every year - that is 1 language every 40 days. The rate of disappearing art forms is much worse. As enthusiasts of culture, art and heritage, it makes us bleed every time we hear about families who have had a long history of artisans dropping out of their trade due to lack of awareness and demand. You can’t blame them either, art appreciates when there is awareness and with little awareness the best of artists are just men/women with talent.
We at Bit of Meraki wish there was no art/culture/language that ever died. We have taken it upon ourselves to shine light at and promote as many disappearing arts as we can, so that what has survived this long, survives a little longer if not for eternity.
Eki Beki has been a wonderful partner for us, hunting down dying arts in India and partnering with communities to keep the art alive. Their efforts have not only helped us in keeping up with our mission to save the dying arts, but their efforts help the community they work with too. They identify Indian crafts that are on the verge of extinction and revive them through design interventions, skill and capacity building, product development, market development and creating self-governing mechanisms; all of which eventually help the artisan community to sustain and grow their community clusters in their natural habitat. This cycle is repeated for every craft, one at a time and needs empathy, patience and persistence.
We have come a long way with them, reviving history and bringing small cute little decor delights to people’s homes. Think of the arts being revived as time capsules of technology, craftsmanship and material science that our forefathers had sealed. The artisans Eki beki works with create an entire experience in an art piece where you can see how the weaves and folds and details have evolved over time.
With Eki Beki we have been able to support artists from the Gond community who keep Gond craft alive. Gond paintings depict the images of the lifestyle of the tribe and their environment, the wildlife of the place and surroundings. The paintings also depict the belief and faith of the tribe, various mythological creatures and characters from the tribal folklore; all the above are innate part of this artwork. The intricate use of dots and lines contoured with bright colors, makes this the perfect art piece for personal spaces like your bedroom, office etc.
They are also working with tribes in Manipur, India to generate awareness from black pottery - traditionally called Longpi Ham. Made of hard serpentine rocks, they are absolute pieces of marvel. Had this artt disappeared it’d be a real shame for all of us.
Eki Beki not only helps tribes keep their art alive but it makes use of all tools at their disposal to study market trends, demand, price trends, capacity building and connect artisans to the market through various agencies.
We are proud of all the efforts Eki beki has put in and believe ourselves to be really lucky to have found such partners who support such a noble cause. We’ll make sure to bring you more wonderful decor pieces for your space from Eki Beki, supporting and promoting dying arts all the while.
So lovely that you guys are working towards keeping these arts alive!