Art has always been one of the fundamental building blocks of our society. But, often, due to the commercial cogwheels, our sensibility towards art gets restricted to a niche and thus, true appreciation of arts and artists goes down the drain.
To tackle this notion, two brothers from Ahmedabad, Rutul and Ronak, have come up with an eco-friendly designing start-up to help deprived artisans in keeping their art forms alive. This concept was initiated by Rutul, during his masters at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, as a college project in October 2014 where he designed the souvenirs and products related to Nalsarovar – a wetland in Gujarat. The idea was reshaped into a brand and thus came the dawn of CHATUR CHIDIYA.
This budding start-up works on the philosophy of hand manufactured eco-friendly lifestyle products using the skills of tailors, potters, autistics, roadside billboard painters, book binders and people with intellectual disabilities. The founders of Chatur Chidiyaa believe in targeting the vulnerable, urban, due to high living expenses and lack of employment opportunities. Many artisans who are unable to make an affordable living in an urban set-up give up their art-form and take up any other labor work. For this reason, Chatur Chidiyaa has initiated a `simple concept which any artisan can easily adopt, with the functionality of it being so eye-catchy and amazing that it can be showcased in any well-established showroom, art gallery or exhibition.
At present, the fundamental designing theme of Chatur Chidiyaa is inspired by various vibrant birds and they plan to take up other endangered animals as their designing concept in future. The products mainly involve lifestyle items such as kitchenware, ceramic home décor and stationery items made out of naturally humble materials such as recycled papers, clay (terracotta), used fabrics, bamboo, discarded pages from printing industry– all the materials that mix well with the earth once their product life-cycle is over.
The duo is at present plunged into this endeavour on a full-time basis and has divided their roles wherein Ronak handles the business development and Rutul handles the designing and manufacturing of products by the artisans and craftsmen. With a view to promote this idea to the masses, Chatur Chidiyaa conducts several exhibitions across India. Ronak mentions, “While interacting with the people we get new product ideas and we always strive to maintain a balance between the psychology of the makers and the liking of our customers.” Chatur Chidiyaa carries online and offline sale of their products and thrives on connecting like-minded people who have previously walked on the same path.
“We narrate the tale behind the making of the product and are sure that once the people become aware of the problems of these workers, the consumers shall definitely respond well,” adds Ronak. Hence, Chatur Chidiyaa is making all the efforts to provide articles which everybody wants, by the artisans who want to produce them and thus bridging the gap between the two and bringing them on a common platform.
And it is this common standpoint that we, often, fail to perceive. We often associate art with a monetary metric but true art can indeed come from anywhere. Right from Parisian art galleries to the underprivileged, urban sections of our society, art shows no boundaries and Chatur Chidiyaa is rightly proving that. It shows us that art, from these sections, can be a part of our lifestyle and also, at the same time, become a medium for contribution to the society.
NAZNEEN KACHWALA | TOC
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