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Of pink facades and rugged landscapes, colored turbans and tons of desert sand, Rajasthan is a state that lives and breathes culture and heritage. Lying in the North Western region of India, the state is celebrated as the art capital of the country, world over.

Rajasthan, Art Capital of the Country

From the waves of leheriya to the tales in intricate paintings, the rich ancient art, architecture and crafts very prominently still reside in the state. Apart from the glorious and mesmerizing architecture, the region has infinite riches when it comes to paintings, some of the important ones which depict the tales of the past are Phad paintingsMiniature paintingsKajali and the Kishangarh Shaili.

(An old picture of Kishangarh Shaili, source: Wikipedia)Old Painting of Kishangarh Shaili

About 100 kilometers from the capital city of Jaipur, lies a small townKishangarh,well-known for its marble industry. Situated by a lake, the forts and palaces beautifully overlook the waters, just like a picture or a paintings. The marble-town is also the birthplace of an exquisite form of art, the Kishangarh Shaili or Kishangarh style of paintings.

The distinctive fine painting style surfaced in the mid-18th century, under the patronage of Maharaja Sawant Singh, Nihal Chand a master artist in Maharaja’s court was the first one to create highly elaborative and sophisticated works providing visual expression to his poems and feelings. Now known as the Kishangarh Shaili, these hand painted art pieces narrate the stories of the past, and depict varied events and happenings of epics as well as themes of god, nature and panoramic landscapes. Since the rulers of the region worshipped Lord Krishna and Radha, numerous works portray scenes from their fables.

Kishangarh Elephant painting with men and women

The distinguishing characteristics of these works lie in detailing and precision laid on the individualistic features of men and women. The arched brows, sharp nose and elongated faces, the delicate and meticulous features are some of the unmistakable attributes.The painting style has a huge amount detailing in the form of sharp figures and grand landscapes, the gods and their carefully painted features as well as costumes which requires a lot of precision and time. The colors seen in the elaborative art works are almost jewel-like, green, deep red, cream and white being the most utilized ones.

For a cluster of artists who live and breathe the Kishangarh Shaili, this art has been much more than a livelihood or a source of income, the art for them has been a legacy of their culture, skills passed down through generations and a medium to express themselves. While the remuneration received is just a little more than that of an unskilled laborer forcing most of the upcoming generations to opt out of it. The handmade crafts are being replaced by machine made goods and the talented hands that once worked on these crafts are looking for a better paying option.

Three centuries later, in the world of mass produce and computer created digital prints, the old art technique is slowly dying, and what dies with it is far more than just a skill.

We at Fanusta, are aiming to revive this timeless art by producing utility based products to the old painting technique therefore bringing the art back to the contemporary living. Art that is currently camouflaged in the numerous machine made and similar looking products is slowly finding its way to the homes of people.

Targeting the untapped potential of these under celebrated artist, the brand is keen to bring innovative designs, new colors and contemporary product line in order to cater to the global market for home decoration. Brand’s ‘IAmFanusta’ initiative strives to locate and recognize the master artist and craftsperson, enhance their creative capacity and in turn celebrate their artistic expression on a global stage.

Mr. Birdi Chand Mali of Kishangarh

Team Fanusta is always on the look-out for artists that are par excellence in the form of art and craft.

One such master artist is- Mr. Birdi Chand Mali of Kishangarh.
42 year-old Artist Birdi Chand Mali hails from the very same town ofKishangarh, and has beenworking on the craft since the last 30 years.

Having grown up surrounded and admiring the illustrations and art pieces of gardens, palaces and royalties painted by his uncle, he got inspired to learn the work at the mere age of 12. Working with carpenters hand in hand, he started his own enterprise in 1989 to take the craft forward and through the encouragement from his mother and dedication towards the craft, he went on to receive the State Hast Shilp Award in 2006.

Craftsman of Kishangarh Shaili Painting

In present day, master artist Birdi, works with his team of 5 craftsmen to utilize Kishangarh Shaili paintings with hand, on materials like wood, bone china, silk & cotton fabrics, canvas and basil paper to create exquisitely colorful home and decoration products. Going through processes of sketching, tracing, highlighting, painting and finishing it usually takes one complete day to create a single product, a finer piece can take even months.

With the growing economy, globalization and the fluctuating buying behavior, everything is affected by market trends and there is a need for the industry to cope up in this fast growing market. The Fanusta design team in collaboration with the artist is exploring a series of designs and color palettes which take inspiration from the old but still imbibe contemporary aesthetics in terms of structure and utility. These products are apt for today’s modern day living.

Opening the door of innovation, a team of design professional and traditional artist are geared up to amaze the world with their new breed of ‘HANDICRAFT’.

To the readers–

We go to big fancy art galleries and spend handsome amounts to attain unique designer pieces.
We also go to the malls, the supermarkets, the exhibitions and make countless expenditures on decorative that all look the same.

handmade wooden colorful box

But do we ever take time to consider these under-appreciated talents which have been the treasures of Indian art and culture who are now struggling for a fair and sustainable income for their livelihood.

What resides in these crafts and the hands which make them is something that we rarely give a thought. These artists have preserved the history that makes our country. But what have we done to support them in this journey?

How do you put a price tag on our age-old crafts? How do we make sure that the unique skills and its results stay for the generations to come?

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