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  • Design rules for your home

    Thinking of making your haven heavenly but are unable to keep up with the trends? Shreeya Jagtap, Design Crew Manager, West Elm and Pottery Barn, shares some ongoing and upcoming trends. Home improvement projects can be daunting for homeowners. People find it difficult to keep up with the trends in the fast-changing interior design industry. This keeps them away from experimentation and doing home refurbishment. To ease your pain, A2zoftrends got in conversation with Sheeya Jagtap from West Elm and Pottery Barn. Excerpts… Designers love playing with colours. What colours are trending in the upcoming season? The upcoming season will see a mix of neutral tones with a statement piece. Neutral colours with one accent piece in olive or navy or a bold statement piece will be stand out. Let’s say, if your sofa is neutral, you can put a bold embroidered accent cushion on it. What are the trending fabrics of the season and how are customers responding to them? From what we seen so far from customers’ standpoint, they want a bit of character to the fabrics. They no longer want to purchase flat fabrics. Texture-based selection is in demand. A lot of duplex and tulle will trend in the upcoming season. Earlier size of a room was taken into consideration while designing. But now, designers ignore proportions. What’s your take? Customers these days are now open to ideas. With Instagram becoming the medium to explore interior design tips and trends, people are getting more open to a maximalist design sense instead of the traditional classic forms. That’s why revamping a room according to size is no longer an issue. Even though your room is small, no one can stop you to put a blue wallpaper or a green ceiling centrepiece. One classic trend that remains valid this season is… A mid-century contemporary trend is an evergreen trend. So, wood finishes like accon finish or smoke wood finish will go well with any trend. How can wall art accentuate the look of a room? People are spending a lot on giving their walls the right look. One thing that they are investing in is art. If you are investing in art, make sure to add a nice frame to the wall art instead of focusing on its price. A framed artwork can easily add a unique look to your walls.

  • Sushma Seth to receive META Lifetime Achievement Award

    The actor has acted in more than 100 films and television serials. She is remembered for her role in Hum Log and Dekh Bhai Dekh aired on Doordarshan. If you are a 90s kid, you would have surely seen actor Sushma Seth on Doordarshan. Who can forget her as Sarla Diwan in Dekh Bhai Dekh or daadi in Hum Log and even Mrs Dharamadhikari in Vansh? Seth was one of the few actors to play a variety of roles – ranging from a grandmother to wife, sister and mother – despite her young age. After completing a teachers training diploma in home science, a science diploma as well as Bachelor of Fine Arts, this veteran actor pursued acting. And, in 1950s, she started performing as stage actor. She performed in several plays such as All the King's Men, Hotel Paradiso, The Little Hut, Saleeb Per Mariam, Taming of the Shrew, etc. In 1964, she started a Delhi-based theatre group ‘Yatrik’ as a co-founder. With this feat, she turned into an actor-cum-director. While being busy in production and acting, she also started a platform to involve children in theatre. In the 1970s, she founded the Children's Creative Theatre. The theatre was involved in making plays such as Make Him Smile, Sitara, Alan and King's Daughters and Little Women, to name a few. While being busy with production and theatre, Seth also turned to films. In 1978, she made her debut with Junoon. She later worked with several prominent actors of the Hindi film industry, including Rishi Kapoor, Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan. Seth’s contributions to TV, films and theatre have been exceptional. This is one of the reasons that the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) is applauding the works of this actor and conferring her with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The actor will be felicitated during the award ceremony on March 29 at Kamani Auditorium in the national capital.

  • Remembering Satish Kaushik

    Actor-cum-writer and director Satish Kaushik passed away due to a heart attack in Gurugram early Thursday morning. Here’s a look at his versatile career. It’s rare to see an actor getting into the shoes of a director and writer. Satish Kaushik set a benchmark in this category. Born on 13 April 1956 in Mahendragarh, Haryana, Kaushik’s journey in acting started soon after he joined the Kirori Mal College, Delhi University. He participated in several plays at the college’s theatre society ‘Players’. It was here he realised his love for acting. So after completing his graduation, he joined the National School of Drama and the Film and Television Institute of India, where he pursued a course in acting. Mumbai calling In 1980, Kaushik moved to Mumbai. He got his first break as an actor in 1981 in Chakra that starred Naseeruddin Siddiqui and Smita Patil. Though he was recognised as an actor since his release, he didn’t shy away to try his hand as a writer. In 1983, he wrote the dialogues of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro. The film later became a cult classic. The same year, he acted in some of the best films like Woh Saat Din, Masoom, Mandi and Saagar, among others. Big break In 1987, Kaushik joined the cast of Mr India. His role as ‘Calendar’ in Shekhar Kapur’s film garnered him fame like never before. The film won him love from all walks of life and the actor was soon recognised as ‘Calendar’ in Bollywood. Debut as a director In 1993, Kaushik was up for another experiment - donning a director’ hat. He turned director for Sridevi and Anil Kapoor in Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja. He also gave several actors their big break in Bollywood. Among them were Tabu in Prem (1999), Tusshar Kapoor in Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai (2001) and Bhumika Chawla in Tere Naam (2003). He continued his journey as a director till 2021. His last film as a director was Pankaj Tripathi, Vijay Kumar and Mita Vashisht-starrer Kaagaz (2021). Turned David Dhawan’s muse Kaushik was a prominent face in David Dhawan’s films. His comic timing was at par with other comedians of the Hindi cinema. This is what made him the perfect ingredient in Dhawan’s rib-tickling comedies. Kaushik lived up to his name and proved his mettle. His role in Saajan Chale Sasural (Mutthu Swamy), Deewana Mastana (Pappu Pager), Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (Sharafat Ali), Mr. & Mrs. Khiladi (Chanda Mama) and Haseena Maan Jaayegi (Kunj Bihari) was nothing short of remarkable. Being Bollywood’s baddie Kaushik’s versatility wasn’t limited to his skills, but also in terms of the characters that he played on the screen. During the 90s and 2000s, most of the films explored his softer and comic timing, but audiences saw a different side of Kaushik in negative roles. Be it his screen role as Tayaji in Udta Punjab or Manu Mundra in Scam 1992, an ever-so-smiling Kaushik proved his versatility as an actor. Unreleased works Kaushik’s death has been an untimely one. The actor was shooting several films. Among them is Kangana Ranaut-directed Emergency, where he was set to play Jagjivan Ram, the late defence minister. He was also working on a big budget period drama about legendary singer Tansen. Besides this, he was also working to promote Haryana's film industry.

  • Viraj Khanna: When fashion meets art

    Artist Viraj Khanna carved a niche in art in his debut show at the India Art Fair 2023 being showcased at the Tao Art Gallery booth. But instead of experimenting with paints, pencils, chalk or ink, he used India’s traditional textiles and embroideries in his artworks. A2zoftrends spoke to the artist and learnt more about his artworks, inspiration behind them and the different techniques he used in the process. Experimentation is the key in art. Yet only a few artists are able to think out of the box. Artists generally play with mediums but seldom do they blend indigenous textiles. Viraj Khanna’s showcase featured that ‘it’ factor. He collaborated with indigenous karigars of Kolkata and showcased a collection using beads, thread work, zari, aari and zardozi. Viraj took inspiration from his mother, ace fashion designer Anamika Khanna, who focuses on heavy embroidery. However, instead of using these textiles as a wearable fabric, he weaved the different embroideries on cotton and linen. We spoke to the artist and learnt more about his art. The following are the excerpts… 1. When did you first thought of using textiles on canvas? How did the thought occurred? Before my first show, my gallerist from Kolkata, Somak Mitra, had suggested that I stay away from textile at least initially in order to keep my identity as an artist and as a fashion entrepreneur separate. This was a great suggestion and I followed what he had told me. My second solo show was in Mumbai and I decided to start experimenting with textiles. I put up a few works during the second solo titled ‘What my mother didn’t teach me’ to which I received an overwhelming response. Since that show, I have been continuously experimenting with different techniques of hand embroidery for my work. I think it was natural for me to slowly drift toward textile since that is something I have grown up around. Initially, just to keep the identities separate, I did not showcase any of it. 2. What was the idea behind the artworks showcased at the India Art Fair 2023? For the India Art Fair, since I was one of the focus artists, I wanted to showcase various different techniques of hand embroidery and how these techniques could be used totally differently to reflect on different things that I wanted to portray. I wanted to take a medium that has been used since generations in a certain way and give it a contemporary spin. Therefore, I used different materials that represent different energies to me and created figurative works. Some of them were 3D with fabric stuffing. I also wanted to merge different mediums and therefore, I created a sculpture which was combined with threads and embroidery to create an installation. 3. Tell us about the materials that you used in these artworks and from where did you source them? I used a variety of different materials in all the works. The main installation consisted of a fibreglass sculpture with acrylic paint on it. It was mixed with rope which was dyed in different colours that formed the means to create the sort of ‘pulling’ effect. The textile work on the wall for the sculpture installation consisted of acrylic paint, different embroidery techniques and different fabrics. For the other textile works on the wall, different techniques, such as ari and zardosi, were used with various different materials like resham, bead, sequins, thread, stone, sticks, metal thread, etc. 4. Please explain the process of creating these artworks. I always begin any artwork by creating a paper collage. I cut out various different elements from different magazines and started gluing them together to create different contemporary figures. This forms the blueprint for anything that I create thereafter. The collage is used to then draw the khakha - which is a tracing paper required for hand embroidery - and the khakha is pasted on the fabric to create structures. The embroidery happens then on these structures. If I want to create a sculpture, the process is very similar. I will create the figure using a paper collage and then turn them into a sculpture. 5. How challenging was it to use these materials on the canvas? Why do you think artists refrain from using them? Initially the karigars were quite uncomfortable doing the work since this was totally different from what they were used to. One karigar mentioned how the people in his village were unwilling to do the work since they got scared (I was getting an alligator embroidered). It was interesting to see their initial resistance and discomfort but then their quick adaptation to different ideas and concepts. Also, it is a very time consuming process and it is very expensive. Since I am trying to use all these techniques in a different manner, there is a lot of trial and error all the time. All the karigars are not skilled in the same manner; everyone is good at certain techniques and not as good in others. The right balance of karigars has to be found. 6. There is an interplay of colours and textures in your artworks. How do you decide the composition? Different materials represent different energies to me. Depending on what I am trying to depict, I choose different materials and elements. For example, sequins represent extravagance, etc. since it is glittery and simple thread is more subtle. When I do my work, I am thinking about people in my life and their behaviours and perceptions. If they are extravagant or subtle or simple or anything else, I use different materials to create the figurative works, depending on what I feel. Therefore, the composition depends on what I am trying to portray. 7. What was the idea behind the sculpture piece that you showcased at the art fair? I wanted to mix around two mediums of sculpture and textile. The idea was to create something very contemporary using age-old techniques of embroidery. The sculpture with a done up face and exaggerated features is a figure that I keep working with as it represents our times. I wanted to create a figure/superhero/ that reflects on society now. Then the ropes are like chains pulling out of a textile which consists of another layer. This idea was a play around the perceptions we are always trying to create. 8. What did the strings in the sculpture symbolise? The strings symbolised a connection between the different layers that we have as human beings. The different perceptions we are always creating, the different faces we put on all the time depending on circumstance and the influence of society on every human being. 9. Who has been your inspiration in art? There are a few artists I really enjoy and follow: Hannah Hoch, Faig Ahmed, Dana Schutz, Suhasini Kejriwal, T Venkanna, Sohrab Hura, etc. 10. Now that the India Art Fair is over, what next is in the pipeline? Nothing is planned as of now! I am going to keep experimenting with the medium for the time being. I am still settling down from all the shows so far, haha!

  • Art on iPad: Inside Gaurav Ogale's world

    Meet Gaurav Ogale, who uses Apple iPad Pro to narrate stories of ordinary people using illustrations and sounds. Indian artists are trying new and creative ways to bring out refreshing ideas. The newest edition is the use of Apple iPad Pro to create artworks. Pune-born artist Gaurav Ogale created a series of six audio visual immersive works using the same technique. He titled them as 'Best Sellers'. His works were showcased at the recently-concluded India Art Fair. Explaining his work, he says, “I wanted to relook the idea of how we perceive bestsellers in a book store. Normally when we see bestsellers, we look at biographies of famous people. But I brought out the stories of ordinary people. This is because the theme of this year’s art fair was to look out for extraordinary in the ordinary.” Ogale combined drawing, videos and photographs to narrate stories within a short span of 15 seconds. He used Photoshop, ProCreate and Adobe Premier Pro (video software) on iPad Pro. He juxtaposed ordinary sounds on the stories to allow viewers to be a part of the featured individuals' lives. How it all began? Ogale started the process by writing the stories. He then added several design elements to them and played around with its layering and composition. He finally added sound to the images, which is a representation of the daily chores these people did in their lives. Ogale was a part of the two and a half month-long ‘Digital artists in residence’ programme organised by Apple. The programme allowed him to work remotely. When asked how Apple's team helped him, he says, “Everything we brainstormed together – right from the concept to its production. We also did software workshops with the Apple team." He explains the format of making his works similar to that used in animated films. However, he calls it as a completely self-evolved medium. “The best thing about these works is that you can flip pages like a book and hear their voices. I did not refer to anything. It's a genre that I am still exploring. I like how visual, sound and drawing can come together,” he says. Ogale was formally trained as a filmmaker. However, he never made commercial films. He always had an inclination towards drawing and illustration. This led him to explore the world of advertising, where he combined his practice of making illustrations and converting them into moving images. In his recent showcase as well, he has used illustrations and converted them into moving images. Who can explore this medium? Though the technique is relatively new in nature, Ogale feels that anyone who has an inclination in art can create art using an iPad. “With Apple iPad Pro, it’s so easy. It has the Apple pencil. You can put your subject on the canvas and start creating. You can cut objects, copy them, draw on them and even use animation. It's everything that you can carry with you in your bag and walk around,” he shares. Though the process is simple, the technique of audio-visual storytelling is a time-consuming task. For a 10-15 seconds film, Ogale dedicated four to five weeks on a story. “It's time consuming because it is too immersive. A lot of thought goes into brainstorming (the ideas), production and layering,” he clarifies.

  • Israeli artists unique take on street art

    Israeli artists Maya Gelfman and Roie Avidan’s ongoing exhibition is an attempt to make people mindful of their surroundings. Being mindful is an art. But Israeli artists Maya Gelfman and Roie Avidan create mindfulness and the idea of being present through their art. The duo have been creating public art since 2020, where they use surroundings (and sometimes words) to capture the moment instead of focusing on the subjects featured in the frame. An image shot in a small town in Missisippi is the perfect example. In the photo, Avidan captured Gelfman who stood in front of a laundry store’s wall. The image might look as the one clicked in natural surroundings but Avidan reveals that it became important as it resonated with their thoughts. “We clicked this picture while waiting for our laundry to dry. We were there in the town during winters and it was a ghost town. All places were closed. Our thoughts while living in the town resonated with the moment we were living - we didn’t know where we would end and where the life would take us to,” he shares. Fourteen such images are a part of a series ‘Bodies of Work’, being showcased at Gallery ONKAF, New Delhi, till March 3. Supported by the Embassy of Israel, these works are a part of the ‘Mind the Heart! Project’. Reuma Mantzur, Cultural Attache, Embassy of Israel, who chose these works, liked the artists’ delicate take on the street art. “These works break the boulders or limits of the medium. The artists have mixed art with life. Though they are a part of street art, they are so delicate and aesthetically appealing. Normally, street art is connected to graffiti, which is more aggressive. But these works are different from traditional works and that’s why it was important for the embassy to support these artists,” she adds. The ensemble features eight large photos and six small ones captured over a course of four years. The large photos were a part of the Serendipity Experiment and the rest were shot in India on an iPhone as part of the artists’ preliminary works in Mumbai and Delhi. Sharing the idea behind these photos, Avidan says, “In 2017, we wanted to take the idea of mindfulness and being present to maximum audiences. So, we invented the ‘Serendipity Experiment’, where we kept ourselves as subjects. It is our way of acknowledging that we are just any other element in the composition and the situation is the art.” How it all started? The duo’s journey as artists started very humbly with only two suitcases, very little money and a free mind. It all began when they moved from Israel to the US. They decided that for a year, they won’t let their preconceived notions come in their way of creating art. Both artists successfully took varied art projects – from installations to mural art, among others, without any prejudices. Though they wanted to take this artistic way of life for a year, it continued for four years. By 2020, they have done several art projects outside galleries and museums. But when asked why they focus on projects outside galleries and museums, apt came the reply, “We are able to find beauty outside galleries and museums, irrespective of how chaotic a place can look. Even when we did murals or small things, it was always about the place and the specific experience that is there.”

  • Narayan Sinha’s take on ‘Faces’

    The artist used discarded refrigerator compressors to tell a tale around human faces. Ever since his childhood, artist Narayan Sinha was quite upfront about his thoughts. Born in Birbhum, Nalhati in West Bengal, he didn't knew what being politically correct meant and that a face represents multiple faces. But things changed when he moved to Kolkata. With the taste of urban life, he realised there is so much of façade. “I loved the human touch that I received in Kolkata but somewhere I was lost. I realised that people wore multiple faces. They say something and do something else. It was impossible to decipher someone’s thoughts,” he says. This thought led him to create an artwork ‘Faces’ that he recently showcased at the India Art Fair 2023. He used discarded refrigerator compressors, which he sourced from different cities, to tell a tale around human faces. He explains, “There are 105 masks in this artwork. I used refrigerator compressors as the base of the artwork and faux fur, wood, rubber and copper as other materials.” Though there is symmetry in his work, making the artwork wasn’t a cakewalk. The artist agrees that sourcing the material was a tedious task. “The compressors were collected over a period of time. I was in touch with scrap dealers and garage owners in Calcutta, Delhi and Ahmedabad. Though I sourced most of the materials, I also sculpted some as per my need,” he shares. After collecting the materials, Sinha cleaned them for their final use. Though Sinha’s journey as an artist started in the year 2000 with watercolours, he realised his inclination towards metals due to his family business. “I think it was my father’s automobile business that led me to this path. Being an artist, I wanted to connect with my father’s work. I am glad to find the language of using scrap metal and it has now become my world,” he shares. Sinha has also been a regular participant at the India Art Fair. But his participation this year makes him feel ‘complete’ as an artist. “Unlike previous editions, where only one or two works of mine were chosen, I was able to showcase my complete collection this year at the art fair,” he says. Besides ‘Faces’, Sinha showcased five other works using stone, metal and wood. The entire collection was titled as ‘New Leaf’, which were a part of the Iram Art Gallery’s booth.

  • Understanding Yigal Ozeri's world of photorealism

    Yigal Ozeri’s photorealistic artworks diminish the gap between fantasy and reality. The artist is showcasing his works at the Bruno Art Gallery's booth at the India Art fair 2023. There’s something magical about Yigal Ozeri’s artworks. They captivate your mind and diminish the gap between fantasy and reality. Look closely and you will see a man and a woman gazing right into your eyes. Ozeri creates the magic with thin and thick brush stokes to highlight drama. The Israel-born artist focuses on attention to detail. Intricate elements such as hair, lighting, placement of furniture and materials scattered on floor are given importance. Ozeri follows photorealism, a technique in which he uses photographs to paint artworks. He explains it as an idea of hyperrealism, and stresses that it is different from realism. “In realism, the brush strokes are more expressive and abstract. However, I like creating images that are more realistic,” he says. At the ongoing India Art Fair, Ozeri is showcasing portraits as well as landscape pieces created over a span of 10 years. There are two portraits in black and white and one in coloured format. One of them is influenced by American pop artist Chuck Close (in pic on left) and the other captures Ozeri's Indian model friend who lives in Columbia. There is also a portrait of a Rajasthani spiritual man (in pic on right), who his photographer friend had captured in his camera a few years ago. Photorealism began in 1970. During the early years, most artists projected 75mm pictures on walls and made paintings out of them. Photorealism was frozen. “Artists focused on still life paintings,” he says. Over the years, this technique has transformed. Ozeri too relies on photographs but he transfers them to a computer and recreates their image digitally. He then makes some changes to the photograph by either removing or adding different elements to the frame. “This is called erasing photography. I like adding emotions to my works and that’s why I involve human beings. I alter the elements in background to add drama to my pictures,” he shares. In Chuck Close’s portrait, Ozeri followed the same practice. He placed a candle behind the American pop artist to highlight his most intricate facial hair. Likewise, in his works titled ‘Women in nature’, he altered some elements in the background while painting these women. Ozeri’s showcase also includes his latest works ‘Americana’. These paintings focus on the life in New York. “I have tried to capture real people in real moments. This is my way of showing the time I spent in New York City,” he shares. One of the works feature a scene inside a shop at the Times Square station. “This shop was owned by an Indian man and one can see the imperfections in the form of items scattered on the floor,” he says. Ozeri has also captured the beauty of a diner in bold colours. “There’s nothing special about that diner. It is near my house and I photographed it during the pandemic days,” he says. Transition from abstract to photorealism Born in 1958 in Israel, Ozari’s journey in art started as an abstract artist. But at time, artists in Israel were unaware about photorealistic art. It was after he moved to New York, he came across this concept. He then approached a few galleries in Spain, which helped him get familiar to the concept of realism in art. He initially practiced realism and eventually transitioned to photorealism. Since then, there’s been no looking back. Ozeri has already exhibited his works in the U.S., Europe, Mexico, China and Israel.

  • Enjoy tea-infused cocktails, desserts

    Radisson Blu Hotel, Dwarka recently collaborated with an organic tea brand ‘T-Tales’ to create tea-infused mocktails/ cocktails and desserts using flavoured organic teas. We all know drinking organic tea is healthy. But people refrain from adopting this wellness drink in their lifestyle due to lack of flavours in the Indian organic market. Neera Bhatnager too expressed this sentiment till a few years ago. She enjoyed tasting organic green teas in different flavours when she travelled abroad but couldn’t find any in India. To alleviate her tastebuds and give Indians a break from plain green tea, she started T-Tales in 2018. T-Tales offers organic tea in a variety of fresh and fruity flavours. There’s mango, blueberry, hibiscus, chamomile, jasmine, passion fruit and peppermint, besides the usual flavours such as masala chai, Assam tea, black tea and earl grey, to name a few. Each flavour reveals a different story and that’s what led the founder call the brand ‘T-Tales’. “Through our brand, we want to educate people about the stories behind each flavour of tea. For instance, we want people to know that peppermint tea is good for stomach, and aids digestion. Similarly, blueberry tea is good for your immune system,” explains Neera. Though as standalone products, these teas can be consumed, many hotels in Delhi are using flavoured tea to create a tea-inspired menu. T-Tales’ recent collaboration with Radisson Blu Hotel in Dwarka, New Delhi, gave a glimpse of the same. Chefs at the hotel have used the organic flavoured teas in drinks and desserts. The chamomile tea, which leaves a calming effect on the body, became an ingredient in one of the cocktails/ mocktails. Tareena Bhatnager, Creative Marketing Head, T-Tales, said that the idea of using an organic tea in cocktails is healthy. “When we add chamomile/ jasmine tea to cocktails/ mocktails, we eliminate sugar syrup from the drink. This makes them less sweet and a healthy alternative,” she shares. Similarly, pastry chefs are using flavoured teas to make cakes (Mumbai cutting chai brulee cake, blueberry tea cake slice (using blueberry tea), saffron delicacy baked yogurt (using ‘Saffron Delicacy’ tea flavour), green tea tiramisu (using green tea) and Moroccan delight macaroons (using ‘Moroccan Delight’ tea flavour). To make ‘Moroccan delight macaroons’, chefs start by making a truffle out of the Moroccan delight tea (T-Tales’ flavoured tea) and fill the same in macaroons. Similarly, to make ‘Liscious Hibiscus jelly with Vedic Tulsi panna cotta’, they blend Liscious hibiscus tea with Vedic Tulsi tea, and make hibiscus jelly with Vedic Tulsi panna cotta. To make panna cotta, they boil and make a concentrate out of the tea, which is used for dessert. Calling it a one-of-a-kind innovation, Ankit Hira, Pastry Chef, Radisson Blu Hotel, shares that acing the recipe wasn’t a cakewalk. This is because neither had his team worked with flavoured teas in desserts nor were they aware about the taste of the final product. he was also scared if the ingredients would blend with each other. The Mumbai cutting chai brulee cake was an invention test for his team. “Earlier we were planning to do a brulee, but then we did a fusion by combining the cake with the brulee. We were unclear if we had hit the jackpot till the time we demoulded the cake and tried it. This is because we were trying brulee (a French dessert) with a very traditional flavour of Mumbai's cutting chai,” he says. Selecting the flavours of desserts was also challenging. However, unlike following a tried and tested recipe, the team made variations to place the perfect dessert on the menu using flavoured organic teas. The flavoured organic teas and tea-infused menu is available at the Atrium, The Tea Lounge, Radisson Blu, Dwarka.

  • Crafting a future for Meghalayan artisans

    Traditional artisans in Meghalaya are earning a living and preserving their dying art by selling products to Meghalayan Age – The Store. From fishing baskets, tree houses, winnowing trays, planters, handicrafts to Lakadong turmeric, wild forest honey, Sichuan pepper, textiles in cotton, Eri, and mulberry silk to innovative and eco-friendly products from bamboo and rattan cane, Meghalayan Age – The Store is nothing less than a paradise for shoppers willing to buy a range of traditional homegrown and handmade products from Meghalaya. Launched in Delhi in 2022 to brand and promote Meghalaya and create employment opportunities in the region, the store presents a distinctive blend of the state’s culture, tradition and artisanal excellence in traditional offerings. The store houses products that are homegrown, handpicked and handcrafted by artisans and entrepreneurs. They are carefully selected for their quality and sustainability. Birthing CH Marak (in video) is one such artisan who is selling handmade products at the store. He specilises in making products from cane and bamboo. Born into a family of weavers at Gongganggre village in South Garo Hills, Marak saw his parents and grandparents make products. Due to lack of money, his home became his classroom. At 12, he started joined them and independently made products without acquiring any formal training in this art. He sourced the raw material from the forests near his village where they were grown locally. Since then, there’s been no looking back. At 33, he earns a living, while preserving the dying art of making traditional handmade goods. Blastine Sang Ma, another craftsman from the Garo tribe, makes music instruments and also teaches music to his tribe. The 47-year-old artist plays Dodrong, a traditional instrument that is made from Gambare wood and goat’s skin. Sang Ma’s interest in music led him to make music instruments. But now it’s his source of income when Meghalayan Age – The Store recognised his craft. There are many craftsmen and craftswomen like these Barak and Sang Ma whose lives have been transformed thanks to the store that buys products directly from the local artisans in Meghalaya. But choosing the right craftsperson isn’t a cakewalk for the store’s founders. Meghalayan Age – The Store launched the Atelier programme to encourage artisans to pursue their craft professionally. Twenty-two artisans specialised in pottery making, textiles, bamboo and cane products were chosen at an annual competition. Sharing details about the programme, Dr. Vijay Kumar D, Commissioner and Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya, says, “We selected superior craftsmen who are great at their craft. We picked up these artisans and gave them a grant of INR 5 lakh to build their studio in Meghalaya. These artisans were impaneled as training partners. This allows them to talk to craftspeople in their region and create unique designs at store. We also give design inputs to them on how to modify traditional designs. The products that are sold in the store carry a margin, a large part it goes to craftspersons.” Meghalayan Age – The Store aims to put Meghalaya on the map for artwork, handicrafts, handlooms, food, literature and music that are entirely indigenous, handcrafted, and locally produced. It is a Government of Meghalaya initiative. The store is housed in the Rajiv Gandhi Handicrafts Bhawan.

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