In Srinagar with the most innovative ‘Papier-Mache’ designers 

The minute details and gossamer sheen of their colorful designs dig the very sensations of Kashmiri lives in conflict as two brothers, Hashim Ali Khan and Maisar Ali experiment with ‘Papier-mâché’ art with firm determination to make it a profitable venture.

In times when the young artisans in valley are reluctant to pursue traditional forms owing to commercial volatility, two brothers have not just forged a new life into the ‘papier-mache‘ art in the Valley, but also turned around its economic prospect by introducing latest contemporary designs and patterns and advertise the products on social media.

According to Maisar, they decided to take forward the work done by our father Shabir Hussain Khan who has been into the craft for the last 50 years and they have been working on new designs and colour schemes. Customers are liking it and the demand is growing.

“Unfortunately, the younger generation is not keen on pursuing the traditional art forms. So, the number of artisans is falling. This work also demands a lot of patience, which unfortunately, our young generation lacks,” he said to PTI

The duo feels the state needs to devise programmes to teach youngsters these art forms just like modern art is taught in schools.

Mehmood Shah, Director, Handloom and Handicrafts said the government is trying to infuse interest in the youth and artisans with capacity building, including design improvements.

Shah said two institutions are dedicated for craft development –- the Craft Development Institute and the Indian Institute of Carpet Technology.

“It is really important to have new designs and colours. Craft evolves through fusion, new designs and colour schemes. Our endeavour is to have design improvement in the crafts. We have also brought designers and university students for capacity building of the artisans,” he said.

We also have a tie-up with the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) under which we teach new designs of papier-mache. We are in talks with the Centre Skill Council, and are making a centre of excellence. A lot of work is focused on new designs. There is a need to provide new designs to the artisans and to get experts here to teach them,” the director added.

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