Art that’s good to gift, and keep-written by Sangeetha Devi Dundoo

Creatif in Hyderabad reimagines works of eminent artists to present utilitarian and décor collections

Ceramics by Khushboo Madnani

When there’s art all around you, it’s bound to influence the way you think. Supriya Lahoti grew up watching established and emerging artists display their work at Kalakriti, the gallery run by her parents Prshant and Rekha Lahoti. An art student, she wondered why art isn’t commonly considered a gift. Gifting works of eminent artists can dent our savings. How about functional art and décor accessories inspired by works of artists? She reached out to artists such as Jogen Chowdhury, Avijit Dutta and Seema Kohli. The result is Creatif, which stocks art and craft-inspired apparels, sculptures and other articles. Creatif is run by an all-women team that includes Madhulika Jhawar who sources and curates the range.

Here’s what to expect:
Rethinking Cheriyal paintings

A plate with Cheriyal painting by the famed Nakashi family
A plate with Cheriyal painting by the famed Nakashi family  

Telangana’s Cheriyal paintings have brought to life folklores, with vivid images of the rural setting — people, animals, birds and trees in myriad colours. Besides scrolls and large wall hangings, Cheriyal artists have begun to adapt to market needs. Dhanalakota Rakesh Nakash, the son of reputed Cheriyal artist Vaikuntam Nakash, is among those who has embraced this shift in narrative. “A couple of years ago Crafts Councils of Telangana helped us work with a Delhi-based designer who trained us to use Cheriyal paintings in contemporary methods,” says Rakesh. At Creatif, the range include original Cheriyal art on plates, hand-painted by master artist Vaikuntam Nakash and Rakesh. “It’s time-consuming and we use only natural colours. We begin by pasting a khadi cloth on the plate and it goes through multiple treatments before we can paint,” says Rakesh. As for the longevity, he says the paintings have the capability of holding good for a 100 years. “The plates can be hung on walls or displayed on holders,” he signs off.

The Vaikuntam series

A model sports an ensemble from the Vermilion series, with Thota Vaikuntam art-inspired motifs

A signature feature of celebrated artist Thota Vaikuntam’s paintings are the women with their foreheads smeared in turmeric and offset with a large vermilion. This distinctive face is the motif being used by the artist’s daughter in law Sushma Raj Vaikuntam for an apparel collection titled Vermilion. She uses the motif as prints, embroidery or a combination of print and embroidery of handwoven tussar, muga, silk, cotton and khadi. She believes in minimalism and uses a few motifs on dupattas, stoles and silk jackets. “My exposure to art increased after I got married into this family. I would gaze at my father in law’s paintings and found the faces of these women arresting. I started experimenting by using motifs inspired by his work on cushion covers and coasters. I extended this to apparels and when I wore one of it to an event, Prshant Lahoti felt this range could be explored further,” says Sushma. Her other collection titled Golden Parrot uses birds seen on Vaikuntam’s paintings on apparels. The master artist, Sushma says, “is excited at this range of wearable art.” Each apparel comes with an authentication certificate from Thota Vaikuntam.

The art-inspired lane

  • Stationery, home décor, scarves and stoles inspired by the work of artists such as Jogen Chowdhury, Surya Prakash, Manish Pushkale and emerging artists like Malavika Reddy. Look out for cushion covers with prints of S H Raza’s paintings.
  • Sculptors like Shivarama Chari and G Ramakrishna have created smaller pieces for home décor or, for instance, double up as pen stands on office desks.
  • Vintage photographs of Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and other cities from Kalakriti Archives have been used for diaries and coasters. Pens with vintage maps inscribed on the surface are collectors’ items. An enclosed leaflet has details of the map.
  • ‘The Harappan Collection’ silver jewellery by ‘Moha By Geetanjali’ translates historical motifs into bugdis (the traditional ear ornaments worn by Maharashtrian women) and naths. On display are also silver jewellery by Kesya and Rosado Jaipur. Shubha Gokhale’s hand painted silver jewellery has the artist exploring colours, forms and textures.
  • Designer Tarini Kumar’s The Cobalt Company’s range of bags and The Yarn Story’s stoles and apparels.
  • Wellness section stocks products of Hina’s Naturel, candles from Suchitra Krishnamoorthy’s The Candlelight Company, Pulp India and other labels that use natural ingredients.
  • Side tables and chairs with paintings by artists like Priyanka Aelay, Malavika Reddy and others.
    Soft cotton camera straps by Hyderabad-based Kiki Store.
  • Upcycled notebooks by designer Paromita Banerjee, where the covers are made from leftover fabric trimmings.
  • Lightweight Bhutanese notebooks and handmade paper that use the bark of Himalayan trees, wild herbs and flowers.
  • Oleographs of Raja Ravi Varma paintings are also on the anvil.
  • (Creative is on the first floor, Kalakriti art gallery, Banjara Hills)

The fine lines

Khushboo Madnani’s functional range of ceramics combine her twin passions — ceramics and drawing. The artist who conducts workshops in Mumbai remembers drawing being her first love when she graduated from JJ School of Arts. Now, her ceramics have fine line drawings that create patterns inspired by nature on plates, bowls and mugs. Some of them have a thin gold line running across them. “I use a glaze pencil and then the firing is carried out. Where the gold line is involved, the ceramics go through a third firing,” she explains. In this nature-inspired collection, you’ll motifs of seeds and wildflowers. A few pieces have undertones of orange towards the rim, which she attributes it to the reduction firing technique. She’s currently working on a collaborative range that combines ceramics and metal.

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