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Mukul Banerjee / 50 items

N 2 B 0 C 0 E May 14, 2019 F Aug 23, 2019
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N 6 B 0 C 1 E May 16, 2019 F Aug 23, 2019
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Majorca may 2019

N 1 B 2 C 1 E Sep 28, 2018 F Aug 23, 2019
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Children of mask makers

Situated amidst the calming greenery, a village steeped in ancient animism and rituals, is the home of about 250 artisans carrying forward the tradition of ecstatic wooden mask making for generations. The craft of Gomira dance masks is practiced in a specific area in North Dinajpur district of West Bengal state, India, in and around the village of Mahisbathan (Khunia Danga, Kushmandi Block) located approximately 50km south-east of Raiganj, the district headquarter.

The mask dance (or Mukha Khel) is usually organized in between mid-April to mid-July though there are no fixed dates, but each village in the area organizes at least one Gomira dance during this period according to their convenience, at a central location. The Gomira dances have distinct forms. The Gomira format is the predominant one, which has characters with strong links to the animist tradition. It is performed to propitiate Gram-Chandi, the female deity, usher in the 'good forces' and drive out the 'evil forces'.

The craft of Gomira mask-making, in its pristine form, catered to the needs of the dancers (and any villager wishing to give a mask as an offering to the village deity). The masks make part of the costume of the traditional Gomira dance. Themes of the masks are usually spiritual, historic and religious.

Originally, the Gomira masks are crafted from neem wood, as per Hindu mythology. Later locally available cheaper wood such as gamhar, pakur, kadam, mango, and teak came to be used. The village craftsmen are very conscious of the environment and always plant one tree for trees cut down, usually of the same species.

The mask making begins with cutting the log and then immersed in water for seasoning. Once the basic shape has emerged, they use the broad chisel and heaviest hammer to bring out the final shape. The reverse side of the mask is scooped out very carefully. For finer finishing, narrower chisels, sand papers of various grades are being used and a coat or two of varnish, which provides smoothness to the mask and ensures durability. Formerly, the masks were hand-painted with natural dyes. Slowly the use of chemical dyes and even enamel paints have gained acceptance mainly because of ready availability and permanence.

The Gomira craftsmen are from Rajbongshi community and do not belong to any particular caste. The women folk have never been a part of mask-making. For most of the artisans, mask making is a supplementary source of income.

In association with UNESCO, Government of West Bengal's Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises & Textiles has developed a Rural Craft Hub at Mahisbathan to resurrect this art form, by giving the craftsmen a place to work. The Mahisbathan Gramin Hasta Shilpa Samabay Samiti Limited (a cooperative of craftsmen and artisans who live in the nearby villages) runs the centre; ensures payments for work done and promotes the sale of masks and other wooden artefacts. The Samiti delivers more than 100 masks per month, where the selling price varies from Rs. 700 (USD $10) to Rs. 3500 (USD $50), depending on the complexity.

The Samity also runs a Folk Art Centre which is also equipped with accommodation facility for guests. One can participate in workshops, learn about the history of the community and craft, nuances of the mask making and the fascinating associated stories.

More, Gomira Dance Mask by Tulip Sinha - The Chitrolekha Journal on Art and Design

Beautiful Bengal, India

Tags:   Gomira Mask artisans Dancers Bengal India Mukha Khel Mahisbathan Khunia Danga Kushmandi craftsmen crafts mask makers wooden mask ancient ritual tradition mask dance folk art artists animism rituals social documentation

N 1 B 1 C 1 E Sep 28, 2018 F Aug 23, 2019
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Children of mask makers

Situated amidst the calming greenery, a village steeped in ancient animism and rituals, is the home of about 250 artisans carrying forward the tradition of ecstatic wooden mask making for generations. The craft of Gomira dance masks is practiced in a specific area in North Dinajpur district of West Bengal state, India, in and around the village of Mahisbathan (Khunia Danga, Kushmandi Block) located approximately 50km south-east of Raiganj, the district headquarter.

The mask dance (or Mukha Khel) is usually organized in between mid-April to mid-July though there are no fixed dates, but each village in the area organizes at least one Gomira dance during this period according to their convenience, at a central location. The Gomira dances have distinct forms. The Gomira format is the predominant one, which has characters with strong links to the animist tradition. It is performed to propitiate Gram-Chandi, the female deity, usher in the 'good forces' and drive out the 'evil forces'.

The craft of Gomira mask-making, in its pristine form, catered to the needs of the dancers (and any villager wishing to give a mask as an offering to the village deity). The masks make part of the costume of the traditional Gomira dance. Themes of the masks are usually spiritual, historic and religious.

Originally, the Gomira masks are crafted from neem wood, as per Hindu mythology. Later locally available cheaper wood such as gamhar, pakur, kadam, mango, and teak came to be used. The village craftsmen are very conscious of the environment and always plant one tree for trees cut down, usually of the same species.

The mask making begins with cutting the log and then immersed in water for seasoning. Once the basic shape has emerged, they use the broad chisel and heaviest hammer to bring out the final shape. The reverse side of the mask is scooped out very carefully. For finer finishing, narrower chisels, sand papers of various grades are being used and a coat or two of varnish, which provides smoothness to the mask and ensures durability. Formerly, the masks were hand-painted with natural dyes. Slowly the use of chemical dyes and even enamel paints have gained acceptance mainly because of ready availability and permanence.

The Gomira craftsmen are from Rajbongshi community and do not belong to any particular caste. The women folk have never been a part of mask-making. For most of the artisans, mask making is a supplementary source of income.

In association with UNESCO, Government of West Bengal's Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises & Textiles has developed a Rural Craft Hub at Mahisbathan to resurrect this art form, by giving the craftsmen a place to work. The Mahisbathan Gramin Hasta Shilpa Samabay Samiti Limited (a cooperative of craftsmen and artisans who live in the nearby villages) runs the centre; ensures payments for work done and promotes the sale of masks and other wooden artefacts. The Samiti delivers more than 100 masks per month, where the selling price varies from Rs. 700 (USD $10) to Rs. 3500 (USD $50), depending on the complexity.

The Samity also runs a Folk Art Centre which is also equipped with accommodation facility for guests. One can participate in workshops, learn about the history of the community and craft, nuances of the mask making and the fascinating associated stories.

More, Gomira Dance Mask by Tulip Sinha - The Chitrolekha Journal on Art and Design

Beautiful Bengal, India

Tags:   Gomira Mask artisans Dancers Bengal India Mukha Khel Mahisbathan Khunia Danga Kushmandi craftsmen crafts mask makers wooden mask ancient ritual tradition mask dance folk art artists animism rituals social documentation

N 15 B 106 C 0 E Aug 23, 2019 F Aug 23, 2019
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The Royal International Air Tattoo 2019

Tags:   Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A7-MAB RIAT Riat 2019 The Royal International Air Tattoo


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