Photographer Ritam Talukdar is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography. To follow Ritam’s photo journeys click on any image.
From project ‘Bong Valentine‘
Almost all of us celebrate the Puja; with no studying as the elders have always told us and we have believed. But soon, that became a tradition and people find their way out of this contextual matters to escape in their deepest desires to be with the ones for whom they have great liking for. Even some of the unluckiest single ones manage to gather some love on this auspicious day. Just follow the rules and dress in the traditional way.
The artisans stay awake day and night just to turn their hard work and sweat to give rise to something beautiful that can only be experienced through their work of art. The way the mounds of clay are being turned into parts of an idol is worth appraising and worth mentioning. Some hundreds of workshops are there in this very small and busy area called Kumartuli near the Shovabazaar Ghat in Kolkata. And within it lies the uncountable dreams of many brave hearts.
The way these heaps of wet clay are turned into hands and feet of the idol, can only be believed if you see them and the only thing I can infer that, art is still surviving, but is yet to gain its proper recognition. Festive times are the only moments when, the importance of these innumerable numbers of unknown artists can be felt. Otherwise they are just presumed to be useless. They have left their families far behind and only for a certain amount of hope to survive, they have come here. They are creating gold out of their producing powers along with their imagination and with the help of their emotional power and their beautiful thoughts. This skillful combination is strongly visible in their creative expertise.
Faces of the idol have been changing through the years, as with the thinking concepts of people and with the artistic desires of these skilled craftsmen. Some of them bear the traditional looks and some of them bear the face with a combination of a sage or an age old mythological reference. But every single statuette can be hardly seen to be repeated. Behind the dazzling appearance of each earthen figurine, there is a designing team, who are equally responsible for the success story of each workshop. Cutting the background designs and attaching various glitters to abide by the same contrast, seriously needs a good eye and a good designing concept. And they are keeping a strong affair with the workers to shine with an eloquent perspective of sensitiveness.
By Ritam Talukdar