A unique exhibition where the visitors can have a direct experience as to how artisans of Kumartuli live their day-to-day life making idols, painting them and giving them shapes will be held at the end of this year.
The exhibition will be held under the president-ship of the state women and social development minister Dr Sashi Panja and will be organised by Kumartuli Mrit Shilpi Samiti and Kumartuli Sanskritik Samity.
The exhibition is different from other exhibitions as neither separate space will be created nor any gallery will be taken on rent for the number of days it will continue.
Instead, 200 tiled-roof huts of artisans in Kumartuli, where they carry out their art work round the year, is the venue of the exhibition.
Explaining the reason behind organising the exhibition in Kumartuli itself, Kartik Pal secretary of Kumartuli Mrit Shilpi Samiti said: “There could be no better place to showcase the talent of the artisans here. We may not be highly qualified, but our art work is world class.
Thus, the decision to organise the exhibition in Kumartuli itself was taken to let people experience the real feel of the 300-year-old potua palli from where idols of Goddesses Durga and her entourages are sent across the state, different parts of the country and abroad.
The most interesting part of Kumartuli is to see how artisans make around 20 to 25 huge size Durga idols inside a tiled-roof hut of 8 feet by 15 feet.
There are around 250 such huts in Kumartuli at present where artisans carry out their work.
Around 200 of these huts will be part of the exhibition.
Artisans will be showcasing their creation in their respective huts. People visiting the exhibition will be visiting one of these huts after another. They can also speak to artisans to know about the art. There would also be models depicting the history of Kumartuli.
The situation has changed with the passage of time as artisans of Kumartuli have not kept themselves restricted only in making of idols of gods and goddesses.
A section of artisans have now got engaged in to the business of making statues out of fibre glass and plaster-of-Paris while many opt for painting various photographs when they are not busy in making of idols.
Such initiative was once taken around 15 years ago. But it didn’t continue for various reasons. Finally, artisans of Kumartuli have come together once again to organise the exhibition.
One will have to take a ticket to enter the exhibition area and the money that will be generated will be utilised for benefits of aged artisans. A section of artisans have blamed the lackadaisical attitude of the Left Front associations in Kumartuli for discontinuation of the exhibition.
Hundreds of visitors from abroad visit Kumartuli and guides in Kolkata narrate to them the history of the place. The news about capabilities of artisans in Kumartuli would have spread more if the exhibition had continued.