Around 60 art lovers from the city got a unique opportunity to take part in an exposure trail to the heritage village of Raghurajpur on Sunday. The one-day trail to promote the rich heritage of the village among the common people from various backgrounds was being organised by Raghurajpur International Art and Craft Exchange (RIA/CE) in association with Trip4Fun.
The trip started early in the morning, when participants were welcomed with traditional dance, rajnigandha flowers and tika. Knowing about the glorious past of the heritage village from a village priest helped all the participants understand about the tradition which has been passed from one generation to another.
Apart from visiting various houses, the participants engaged in multiple activities like engraving their name on pattachitra, matching steps with traditional Gotipua dancers, learning the procedure of making natural colours from stone and relished local cuisine.
Jyotsna Das, a fashion designer who was part of the trail and was on a visit to Raghurajpur for the first time, told MCL, “I always wanted to visit the village but never got an opportunity. Since I am a fashion designer and have been using pattachitra paintings on sarees, the trail really helped me to know about the village in a proper way and even helped me get in touch with many eminent artists who have been doing pattachitra paintings.”
Similarly, Smita Dash, another participant said, “The whole trip was amazing as we were engaged in multiple activities. Watching all the artefacts hanging on the walls of each and every house and seeing the whole procedure of making an art work helped me understand their hardwork.”
For each participant, the trip was a learning experience of a different kind. According to Lipsa Priyadarshini, who works in a NGO, the trip helped her get away from her monotonous life. “The whole experience was very informative. Watching amazing Gotipua dance performance by young children of the village in an open-air amphitheatre, learning palm leaf engraving and visiting each house of the artists was a memorable experience for me,” she shared.
Meanwhile, the foreign artists, who are currently in Raghurajpur for the month-long residency camp being conducted by RIA/CE, are also crafting beautiful memories every day. James Catell, an artist from Melbourne who is in the village with his wife told MCL, “For me and my wife, it is a different experience. Being a first-time visitor to Odisha and getting such an opportunity to live amidst traditional artists of the heritage village and learning to make traditional art and crafts is an amazing experience. We also enjoyed interacting with the young participants of the exposure trail.”
The response of the participants during the first trail has motivated Ananta Basudev, founder of Trip4Fun to come up with more such events in the village. Sharing about the exposure trip, Ananta said, “It is sad that there are many people who don’t know much about the village. We hope that such exposure trips will help common people know more about the rich tradition of the village.”
Kshitish Das, Project director of RIA/CE shared, “We have been organising the residency programme for many years and this year we thought of giving foreign artists an opportunity to mingle and interact with common people from the city. The foreign artists really enjoyed being a part of the trail and explore the village with everyone.”