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Google Arts & Culture Platform to Showcase Indian Handicraft Heritage

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The exquisite basketry of Angami Nagas from Nagaland, Bell Metal Craft of Payyanur in Kerala, the centuries old "Mata Ni Pachedi" textile art of Gujarat and several other crafts of India are now part of Google Arts and Culture platform.

Brought together by Dastkari Haat Samiti, Ministry of Tourism, and 20 other cultural organisations, the new online project, titled "Crafted in India", was unveiled here on Monday.

With an aim to showcase the county's rich handicraft heritage while making it accessible for the world to experience, the project provides an immersive tour of varied Indian craft forms — from fabrics to embroidery, wall paintings to stonework, metal casting to wood carving.

Speaking at the launch event, Prahlad Singh Patel, MoS for Tourism, said that the project will invite global audience to explore India.

"Crafts have not only become a central part of India's economy, but are integral to India's rich heritage and culture. In keeping with the Prime Minister's call for every Indian to visit 15 locations in the country before 2022 – we are thrilled to partner with Google for 'Crafted in India'. "This will encourage both Indian and global audiences to 'Explore India and carry a craft back' through discovery and exploration," Patel said.

The story behind wooden Channapatna Toys, conceptualized by Tipu Sultan back in the 18th century, the making Chhau Masks — a flamboyant mask-making craft used by traditional Chhau dancers, the 500-year-old Kashmiri Sozni embroidery and Andhra Pradesh's ancient craft of leather puppet making are among other art forms on the platform.

Through over 280 online exhibitions, more than 11,000 videos and pictures, "Crafted in India" also aims to celebrate the stories of artisan communities. "Through great imagery, we wanted to tell a deeper story of Indian crafts and its people. India proves itself as a country of multiple cultural stories that carry different traditions, communities, languages, style of dressing and lifestyles. I hope the world recognises and honours these living traditions through the project," Jaya Jaitly, President, Dastkari Haat Samiti, said.

The online exhibition also touches upon the value of waste and various ways of crafting paper from the most waste materials like pineapple fibres, old currency, and animal dung. The Academy of Fine Arts and Literature, Avani Society, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Craft Revival Trust, Crafts Museum, Devi Art Foundation, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, and Indian Museum Kolkata are among the 21 partner institutions that have contributed to the project.

"Over the years we have done many projects in India that puts a global spotlight on India's rich culture, and celebrates the people behind it. The wealth of history and culture that Indian crafts exhibit is breathtaking.

"I am confident people around the world, but also Indians will be as amazed – as I was – by the exhibit and little nuggets like the fact that Lambani women continue to create rhythms with needle and thread, and their work is popular among people across cities," Amit Sood, Senior Director, Google Arts & Culture, said.

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