Our correspondent

Bongaon :A terracota potter from a remote village of North 24 Parganas, the terracotta of Thakurnagar is making a mark not only in his country but also in Chin .He started terracotta work started experimentally in his area couple of years ago.

Later when on a invitation from Chinese government he visited China he chanced to see the very famous terracotta warrior’ museum in Xi’an province.There stood Michelle Obama to Narendra Modi, all all in terracotta statue.The mighty Chinese emperor and his troops in the museum too stood frozen in the baked clay structure .

Ashish Biswas ,in mid-forties, is making women and men of Thakurnagar self-reliant by making them learn this ancient form of clay art. The terracotta materials he made in the workshop includes tiles, murals, masks, lamp-shades, watches and pen stands. Prime Minister of India from the Chief Minister of the state along with top dignitories in foreign country are aware of his work. In recognition of his work he already received many honours.He is also a National Award winner.

On June 27 last year at South-East Asian Art Week in Kunming, China, Ashish was caught up in the soil of Tagore city. He was there for ten days, exhibiting and selling artworks made by artists from countries in South Asia. To conquer the minds of the Chinese, Gautama Buddha of various forms developed Ashish and his companions.

After graduating in Economics Ashish did not turn to employment. Though there was a proposal for a job after his father died while working in the state police. But on the contrary Ashish started his business studies with the hope that he would make himself more dependent by doing business and that too from remote village. Despite having no formal education in ‘art’, he travelled around the country collecting folk art and handicrafts materials.

The industrious young man rushed to many nook and corner in search of something new. He is the closest person to the renowned handicraftsmen in the state. In the state handicrafts fair, looking back at the remote village of ‘Kochi Bihar’ grows ‘handicrafts’ worth of money, says, “This is the only thing you can make. Even with a thousand bucks, this work will not match. “

Ashish’s experience shows that It is more costly to take back home the items that are not sold. So the poor handicraftsmen wrap their artwork in the field on the last day of the fair. Ashish bought a lot of it for a few years. In his words, “With the death of an artist, many forms of this art are ending. It would have been different if these artists understood marketing.’’

In these time many visited the Ashish’s ‘Sensitive Creation’ workshop located between Thakurnagar Station and Matua University Thakurbari. Many people are busy around the workshop decorated with terracotta. To make an item the clay is being softened and polished after pasting. Clocks are being made on the wheels of a huge pot. From the mould of the plaster of Paris, Buddha is coming up in the hands of master, Ganeshjoni from Rabindranath. After the formation those are dried in the sun or burnt around a large wooden reactor.Te reactor method was prevalent in in ancient system.

Women like Nitma Das, Tipu Bala colour the hardened items. Dipu-Kanika, who are yet to be in limelight both work here.As Ashish say, “From the invention of the wheel in the primitive times to today’s technology, the whole science moved around clay to be handled gently. ” Women are making all kinds of jewellery with the with clay. Another artist Satyajit Basu said “A girl can be decorated with the ornaments made with clay items here

Some of the other people of the state still retain their reputation by working with the clay and terracotta. Like Ashish, many are working in their workshop. Apart from clay pots, chairs, sofas, center table-like furniture are also made. Terracotta wall paintings of Krishnanagar’s Pradeep Pal, various statues of clay made by Kanu Pal of Budgebudge, especially in Rajasthani puppets are also outstanding works of art. Lampshades made by Nantu Ray of Bongaon, clay gift items and calendars by the chariot worker of Barasat have got much acceptance in corporate world too.


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