- Where visitors can get a taste of India’s rich and endangered pastoral culture: Dec 10, 2016 SUNDAY GUARDIAN LIVE
A new art exhibition in the national capital aims to highlight the pastoralist way of life and the threat it faces from rampant urbanisation. Handcrafted artworks by weavers from across India showcased here have generated international attention, writes Bhumika Popli.
Jaisingh Bhai has led an enviable life. A pastoralist by profession and a bhajan singer in his spare time, the sexagenarian has traversed the length and breadth of the country, a distant dream that most of urban souls can only hope for. He is a repository of stories. “While herding the livestock across the country, I feel that the entire jungle is my personal land,” says a visibly delighted Jaisingh. “I could do anything. I have played kabaddi with my colleagues, climbed trees, scared away wild animals with slingshots, eaten fresh fruits and slept under many a brightly-lit sky.”
Belonging to the Maldhari community of Gujarat, a pastoralist society, Jaisingh has trudged his way to Delhi with his fellow pastoralists to attend Living Lightly, an exhibition which aims to capture the pastoral way of life. Co-organised by Sahjeevan, and the Foundation for Ecological Security, the exhibition underway at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), depicts the art and culture of the pastoralists through various shows. Panel discussions, dastangoi, live music, film screenings, art, poetry, photography, live performances, games, conversations, walking trails and handcrafted artifacts all showcasing pastoral culture are part of the overall event.