I am so very sublimed to have met Dipti. Because of a lot of reasons. Majorly for her interest to get featured here, for her trust that she will get featured ;D and also for patiently waiting for getting this article published as well. But no, above all, I am really glad that I blog about art; because of which I got a chance to know her. And also to know so much about traditional and Indian folk art, from such a knowledgeable art lover. Over the time I have met so many people in the field of art. But to be very honest, Dipti has been so far the only one who shared so much of value and wisdom about Indian folk art. Which I will be passing onto you through this post :)
Her mother has been into art field. So from the early period of time, Dipti has been introduced to handicraft, knitting and embroidery. But as we all are aware; school days does dissolve artistic skills. Being an engineering graduate from Indore and spending over 22 years into IT industry. Though, she has been back and forth into the art zone. She realized there were many in her family who were indulged into various art forms. From which came an idea to give them a platform by exhibiting their artworks.
Since such things got confined as gifts that gripped only by family and relatives. She went onto explore more. Which, eventually led her to know about Indian folk art. She mentioned “Once the decision was taken there is no looking back. I wanted to give back to this part of society”. And so plunged onto the deed she was willing to do. She along with her husband launched “Kalavithi“. An online art gallery; that showcase the gorgeous intricate work from makers of unknown corners of India. The collection at Kalavithi definitely triggers craving to own the paintings.
When I asked, “Dipti, why specifically Indian Folk Art?”. She responded, “Because there are already numerous websites for award-winning contemporary artists”. The jolt I received while becoming aware of the fact that she noticed such a void, was sound enough. And hence, she penetrated the obvious layers to introduce the local artists of India. As Dipti said, we ship not only the art, but also the folklore, mythology and the
rustic Indian way to life – the website has described each art form in fair detail. Each painting displayed (to be bought) is hand painted.
“Even now, whenever I mention the term ‘folk art’, the first thing comes into else’s mind is either Madhubani or Worli”. Which is so true. “While travelling so much, reading a lot and after taking a certificate course in Art Appreciation…”. Wait. There is a certification in art appreciation??? Yupp, she did it. And that’s exactly why she knows so much more than the obvious names in folk art that we are aware of. “That’s how I also came to know about the genuineness of respective art forms”.
There are many art forms that have a much higher purpose than to be sold and earned from. I was amazed to know about Thangka paintings. An art originated from Tibet, is placed only in monasteries for meditation. It takes years to perfect the art, least being Six years! The first year focused on learning, how to get colours by grinding only natural ingredients like herbs, flowers, stones and more.things. I was in complete awe with its beauty, especially because they also used gold to paint. Yes, my Malayali magnetism worked there ;) But there are so many other forms, that uses cloth and naturally made colours for filling up intricate & stunning designs.
As obvious, being used to receiving salary every first of the month for 22 years, made her a bit vulnerable towards this venture. But she kept self-motivating herself. It has always been the fight within. Well, anyone who has ever been soaked up in the art field has gone through turn downs. Initially, Dipti also has experienced the contrast of what she has expected. But then there she noted, “You take these moments with a pinch of salt and move ahead”.
The name for the platform just struck the couple; where ‘Kala’ is the art and ‘Vithi’ is a gallery, both originating from Sankrit. She confirmed, “Generally a company puts up an image and pays an artist only when the art gets sold”. To my surprise, Dipti paid for all the paintings, up-front. Because she doesn’t want the artist to wait. She adds “That actually trip to lower down to do the next painting and also that they won’t have money to buy materials for next painting”. So generous indeed. With no external funding, the venture was started in June 2016 with only 6 kinds of Folk paintings in the display; now expanded to 12 different kinds of arts from various parts of India.
“People must know the depth of the art form. Next generation in the maker’s family isn’t willing to get into it. Because they have seen their parents struggle. So these art forms may get extinct in no time. The pride of artists in their art forms needs to be restored. Through the practice of art, they should be able to sustain a good lifestyle, so that their motivation is high. They indeed work very hard to create the paintings from scratch, by making even the canvas and colours themselves to toiling for months to create one intricate piece, and deserve their due in the art world.”
Through Kalavithi, Dipti wants to encourage the use of folk paintings as decor, to increase their penetration in our urban lives! “The core of Kalavithi will always be India. But there are some part of other places in the world that also needs to be covered”.
The website offers all the paintings already framed. Because otherwise in times of exhibitions, people buy and put it in the cupboard only to find it out once a year while cleaning. doorstep. These framed pieces are delivered to their destinations, nicely packed and along with Certificate of Authenticity, saving your trip to the framing shop and your labour of carrying the framed work yourself! This also makes it easy for you to send
them as gifts!
Motivated and supported by her immediate circle, she is now focused on exploring more about traditional Indian art forms. And she is so much willing towards networking activities. She would love to share and not to hold back the knowledge she learnt over the years. “The more I let out the more I create space to let more information in” came out from a poised and a humble personality.
She is a very kind and intellectual person. I am unable to express, how wonderful was it to meet her. It feels great to know about such people who are doing so much more for the greater good of everyone concerned. It takes a strong and wild heart to run free, scout and bring out the best, present in the world, that beautifies our lives in certain special ways. Thank you, Dipti. And thanks to you for if you spread the news about such a great platform for charismatic paintings. Have a nice day!!
Photo Credit: Vivek Sankhwal