Art forms become tangible in an efficient synthesis concocted by Devrai Art Village, an NGO based in Panchgani, Maharashtra that works towards sustaining tribal art and forms. They create a space where modern design ideas can be incorporated to create quality lifestyle artifacts.
Initiated by Mandakini Mathur, a filmmaker, teacher, and social activist, and Suresh Pungati, an art professor and an award winning craftsman from the Madia tribe, the NGO strives hard to create an environment that offers opportunities to explore the linkages between indigenous art and nature; where nature itself becomes a source of aesthetic inspiration, each product is born out of a cross pollination of old and new ideas.
Devrai employs an art form known as “Dhokra”, which uses the lost wax practice for non ferrous metal casting that traces its origin back to the 2600 BC. “Rock Dhokra” is another process that Devrai uses-a fusion of brass with stone and “Organic Dhokra”-which casts organic objects like leaves and branches, in brass. Their molten metal murals have an avant garde appeal where compositions are created blending the abstract and handcrafted pieces of iron and brass.
Today, Devrai Art Village has become an Innovation and Design hub for tribal craftsmen and apprentices, also for interns from top design schools in India. Through a robust apprenticeship programme, Devrai trains youth thus ensuring that skills pass on to the next generations. Devrai believes in the evolution of art and not just its preservation in a frozen manner. After all, a culture draws its sustenance both from being rooted and also through growing organically.