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craft and conscience

  • Published at 08:36 am November 6th, 2018
Oct 18, Puja Issue, Pg28
Photo: Courtesy

Jatra Mela’s new atelier provides space for art with heart

Jatra - the usher of Bangladeshi folk art and culture into the urban scene - has embarked on a unique collaboration with several local artists called Jatra Mela. Jatra Mela was the brainchild of Anusheh Anadil, with the vision of providing a platform to new and upcoming entrepreneurs. Majority of the brands in this new venture do not have a physical presence but rather operate out of online shops. Jatra Mela gives these brands a physical space at Jatra Banani which otherwise would have been difficult to avail. When functioning out of a physical outlet the expenditures associated with the upkeep and management of the place can be exorbitant. The whole experience can prove to be daunting for entrepreneurs who are just starting out. This is where Jatra Mela comes in. They take over the management and maintenance, and help these brands just focus on the creative process. 

Jatra Mela is composed of nine local brands: Prokritojon, Monokrome, Chondon, Hand Touch, Dew Crafts, Kuhu, Footloose, Musarrat Rahman and Ribana. Offering highly specialized products, each label is unique in its own right. For example, Monokrome with its “ode to minimalism and classicism” produces multi-purpose clothing from hand-woven Bangladeshi  Khadi. They fuse their designs into their fabric of choice which are primarily cotton and khadi, a hand-woven fabric spun from natural fibres in Bangladesh. Footloose offers minimalist footwear which is locally made by traditional artisans or “muchis”, boasting comfortable footwear without sacrificing its durability.  Hand Touch, a fair trade certified organization, not only provides handloom fabrics to the local and international market but also has an environmentally friendly production process. Ribana produces handmade organic soaps with all natural ingredients. With the motto of “reduce, reuse, and recycle”, Prokritojon works with underprivileged women and rural artisans to produce eco-friendly handicrafts and textiles. Even though they use natural dyes and recycled materials, they never fail to ensure the quality of their products. Kuhu makes wearable art in the form of saris by hand dying and brush painting six yards of fabric. They take pride in only making two or three pieces of each garment. By combining tradition and modernism, Musarrat Rahman offers handcrafted bespoke clothing. There is a blend of tradition and modernism in the work, each piece stamped with a certain uniqueness. Chondon aims to draw the youth towards traditional art and culture with an array of colours, textures, and embellishments. It showcases the vogue trends of apparel and accessory. Dew Craft, a non-profit development organization, promotes self-help poverty alleviation in the sectors of agriculture and handicrafts through facilitating the development of small enterprises. The diversity of Jatra Mela becomes evident when all the distinctive products offered by each of these labels are stationed in conjunction. 

Jatra Mela is not just limited to nine brands it currently hosts, rather it is an expanding project. Plans to incorporate more local artists into this venture are imminent. With Jatra Mela, local artists will achieve the recognition that they deserve and with more collaboration, Jatra Mela will continue to be a thriving cultural hub. 

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