Ananthoo's updates

When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Jinan, knowledge experiments and kumbham murals

How wud u react if someone u meet has this to say as his 2nd sentence after intro “knowing is being”..”Knowledge is existence..”. That was Jinan! I was flabbergasted and then recovered slowly as he spoke of knowing as a natural process, how we, esp with western influence, curtailed natural learning and imbibed wrongful methods and disturbed the original authentic ways of ‘knowing’. So with a couple of other very interesting folks I had this opportunity to visit his project(s) in kerala.

That trip to Nilambur, kerala I mentioned last week was memorable. There I was to witness 2 very interesting projects of K.B.Jinan, an activist designer. One was his experiments on children from the rural artisan settlements and another his experimenting with crafts esp potters. An engineer from REC,Bhopal and an output of National Institute of Design this man has all the credentials and brain to head any large commercial design venture. But he was disturbed by the fact that education is infact depriving us, the society. His views on education, knowledge are all beyond description esp for some one like me and visit here to know more..He strongly feels we deprive kids of instinct with education and screw up a natural learning process. He has tried lots on the kids from the poor artisan village near nilambur and the results are outstanding. It was great to see the output as well as his experiments. How they create various shades of colors with just 3 pimary colors that he gives them (no tutoring here) or the many outstanding pictures with just dried leaves! There were other simple but extraordinary stuff like that! it was all remarkable.

Then the designer in him did not let him free to just work on the new paradigm of knowledge. He has worked with various artisan communities (esp potters) across India and has been trying to add value to them and their dying art – not only by reviving their art but also helping the whole community like the one in aruvancode where the impoverished artisans pushed their women in to flesh trade. These are arts that had collapsed due to invasion of cheap substitutes and he with his ingenuity started Kumbham thru which he has not only turned around the artisan communities but also an art that was lost. His involvement and guidance meant presentable and saleable terracotta household wares, architectural products and more. He also has lotsa mural paintings and terracotta wall tiles decorating many resorts and corporates. All this is fine till now. Unfortunately we are talking kerala, so he is not without problems. Some folks have raked up some labor probs and he is struggling to meet the orders. Some artisans are stopped from participating in turn affecting their own income and so he is hurt more than anything else. But as he has worked with many such communities he can turn around and continue all this from another place and go on with his sales and activities. But he is trying to come out of the issues there still for their own good. Lets wish him luck there.
hats off to him.and hope some of u are impressed with his works (u can get to see lotsa his works in or ) pass on some orders. Let some deserving artisan folks benefit.

Note: When I went the first rains had just arrived, still kerala was lush green n beautiful everywhere. Esp the route all along from palghat to nilambur (via perunthilmanna) was fantastic. Just that scenic route made my trip. Or so I thought till I got to see these 2 projects here and the organic farm in Govindapuram- kerala TN border right under the hills. So the trip, scenery all took a back seat and may not be mentioned beyond this note. As for the organic farm, wait till I have time to write about that special feeling in detail, soon.

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