India Photo Archive Foundation
Proposals & Submissions
The 5th Edition of Neel Dongre Awards/Grants for Excellence in Photography 2016-17
The India Photo Archive Foundation aims to encourage amateur/professional photographers, and engage a wider discourse on the content, politics and aesthetics of photography.
The Neel Dongre Awards for Excellence in Photography aims to create a visual platform, where photographers can get an opportunity to showcase their work to relevant audience and get notice, receive funds to support their projects, required equipment, and study material to further support their passion. These awards seek to encourage budding artists and documentary photo practitioners from various genres on a national level thus not only creating a platform for aspiring photographers but also using it as a medium to encourage a visual dialogue in the field.
This year’s theme ‘Life as Beauty: The Vanishing Crafts of India’
Kindly visit http://www.indiaphotoarchive.org/-/awards-grants/awards-grants1 for more information on rules and regulations.
Deadline – 30th July 2016
Life as Beauty:
The Vanishing Crafts of India
Craftspeople, it is said, are the “artists of the everyday”. We could begin here with the very words “arts” and “crafts”. In the Indian ethos no distinction is made between the two, either in concept or language, for the man who works with his hands creates anew each time he sits at the loom or the potter’s wheel, bringing his skill as a craftsman to improvise as an artist. In this world-view, all craftsmen are indeed artists.
In earlier times the hands of the craftsman determined every expression of our daily lives. They fashioned the clothes and jewellery we wore, the dishes we ate out of, the vessels we used for water; they created our homes and places of worship and all that was in them: in short, they touched each aspect of our lives as individuals and as communities. They worked in diverse materials with diverse tools. Wood, bronze, stone, terra cotta, cloth, palm leaves and bamboo were only a few among them.
For centuries textiles formed the supremely Indian art. Traditionally, the processing of yarn and weaving of textiles was the second largest occupation after agriculture; quite often the two were intertwined. Across the great textile areas in the country thousands of families spun and wove, dyed, painted, printed, embroidered. The craft of textiles, nurtured for thousands of years, encompassed a wide variety of types and usages, from the finest of cottons, silks and wools to cheaper and coarser textures for everyday use, from gossamer garments and delicate shawls to floor coverings and travelling tents.
Terra cotta and textiles are only two of the great Indian crafts. But what was once intrinsic to our living has been overtaken by industrial manufacture, synthetic materials and just plain obsolescence. Skill sets nourished by generations of teaching and absorption are fading away for lack of practice: are we then in an age of vanishing crafts? Perhaps yes and perhaps not quite.
It is difficult to pinpoint “dying” crafts, as some have proven to be cyclical and can spring back to life when revived by changing fashions, lifestyles or renewed interest. Examples are indigo dyeing and mashru weaving. But not all craft forms are as fortunate. Some might be termed “languishing” crafts: and some phase themselves out through a variety of processes.
For example, some craft objects are no longer functionally relevant, or else are very costly; an example is the metal mirror from Kerala. In other cases, such as phulkari from Punjab, the social circumstances and milieu in which the craft flourished no longer exist. And there are materials – such as shahtoosh and ivory – which are banned for conservation reasons, wiping out any further production of crafts objects. Market forces, such as limited customer appeal in relation to the cost of production, discourage the weaving of certain types of textiles such as the thick coarse handloom saris of Andhra and Tamil Nadu. And other threatened crafts include bidri, puppet making, and traditional paper toys.
Artistically we may mourn the loss of certain materials, techniques and traditions. But pragmatically we have to remember that all craft must perhaps reshape itself to what is current to retain a dynamic and sustaining power. The biggest challenge is to create an encouraging climate through continuing and guaranteed patronage. Skills flourish when demands exist, and it is precisely in the creation of such demands that the future lies.
(With thanks to Ms Laila Tyabji, Chairman, Dastkaar, for her valuable inputs)
Neel Dongre Awards for Excellence in Photography in media
The Asian Age, 11th June 2016 – Exhibit on visual interpretation of recycling, waste management.
The Hans India, 11th of May 2016 – ‘Digging the World of Recycle’
The Hindu 7th April – ‘Showcasing India’s Dirty Laundry’
The Wire, 8th April 2016 – Gallery: The Public Secret of the ‘World of Recycle’
The Hindu, 13th April 2016 –
Better Photography, 2nd March 2015 – ‘Bajaatey Raho: Neel Dongre Awards/Grants by India Photo Archive Foundation’ –
The Hindu, 17th March 2015 – ‘Wedding Cheerleaders’ –
Deccan Herald, 19th March 2015 – ‘Trumpeters of Joyous Times’ –
The Asian Age, 20th March 2015 – ‘Band Baaja Diaries’ –