Examine how traditional craft still has an impact on today's culture and community - has the traditional craft narrative changed? Does it come with a sense of charity?
Radhi Parekh is Founder Director of ARTISANS', India’s first gallery at the intersection of art craft and design. A graduate of Visual Communications from the National Institute of Design (NID), Parekh returned to India in 2009 from a design career spanning two decades, three continents, and several technologies. Her vision was to regenerate and raise 'handmade in India', at a time when globalizing forces endangered local identities. Since 2011, ARTISANS’ has launched path-breaking talent, as voices from within rich cultural contexts. ARTISANS' Sustainable Development Foundation, a social enterprise, was born in 2019. ASDF’s pioneering project in Nagaland, is centered on the potential of a deeply sustainable community to co-create zero-carbon-footprint nettle textiles, that honor their identity. Radhi is visiting faculty at leading design institutions, and loves to mentor the next generation of designers.
Meenu Devrani's transition from a solo artist to establishing a social enterprise rooted in heritage crafts of India has been spurred by with social and gender inequality and climate crisis that is most acutely felt in the fashion industry. However, Meenu believes that slow fashion and artisanship has great potential and can attain the UN’s sustainable development goals and create a sense of meaningful connection between the makers and the consumers. Introducing many initiatives that resulted in sustaining livelihoods for marginalized artisan communities, expanding their market reach and upskilling their work has been her focus. Ideating and developing products with fresh design interventions rooted in traditional sustainable skills is her mission. Her CSR work includes grants and design inputs for The Adivasi Academy, Gramin Shiksha Kendra and the Kota Heritage Society, all three NGOs working to create livelihood opportunities for historically marginalized and de-notified tribal communities in Northwestern India. In addition to running her own purpose driven brand, Meenu has helped with artisan partnerships and content creation for Agaati Marketplace, and researched artisan impact projects and fundraised for Agaati Foundation. Communicating with artisans steeped in deep understanding of ground realities is Meenu’s strength: working closely with grassroots artisans has given her a radically empathetic understanding of their motivations and challenges as craftsmen in underserved communities. As a multidisciplinary artist Meenu loves to draw, design jewelry and textiles, paint, move metals with hammer and heat. Resonant with Nature’s beauty, spirituality and cultures, her work is a fusion of contemporary and ethnic art, which mirrors her identity as a South Asian Indian and American woman. Meenu has 10+ years’ experience in Earth and Tree inspired textural jewelry designs as part of her studio jewelry brand Vaasvara. She now creates and develops all designs under the umbrella of Fyoli Fyoli.