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Harappa- Reviving a dying heritage

"Save the Potters” was the motto with six friends: Nazmul, Shudipto, Probal, Nasir, Shantu and Afsar, who came together from their varied professions back in 2006 and started "Harappa". The journey of Harappa began as a mission to primarily save the “Pals” or the traditional Bangali potters of our country.

The ancient and rich heritage of the traditional potters of Bangladesh and their craft can be traced back to a thousand years, but has now become a dying art form. To revive and reintroduce them to the new market of pottery was the goal of Harappa. Over the last three years, this small project, overcoming many a hurdle, with their original designs and passion for their noble cause has grown to become the largest company manufacturing pottery, terra cotta and ceramic artwork in the country.

An exhibition inaugurated on 2 May at Drik Gallery officially launched and introduced the brand Harappa and its various artistic and innovative clay creations. The work is based on glazed clay products, stone, biscuit clay and fired clay products. In addition to that they have also introduced interesting pieces made of “White clay”.

On a stroll through the exhibition, there are terra cotta murals and tiles of different motifs. Apart from the traditional folk motifs of flowers, fish, elephants, faces, etc there are many pieces inspired by Egyptian art depicting the Egyptian god Anubis, and pharaohs, chariots and hieroglyphics.

The motif carried on to little clay figure-heads as well as beautifully crafted frames and mirrors, even pottery. A lot of the pieced on display were chiefly inspired by the age-old designs traditionally used by the Bangali potters who were then given a modern artistic twist by the artists in the group behind this company.

Besides terra cotta work, there is an array of remarkable, artistically and aesthetically pleasing range of interestingly crafted pottery, garden ornaments, wall panels, ceramics art pieces, mirrors and lamps. The lamps were mostly clay bell-shaped lamps to be hung from above. One piece that struck the eye was the white clay lamps which are beautifully and skillfully crafted like pots that emanate light from within like a light shade.

Little figure heads, intricately crafted small Ganeshes and eye-catching clay and stone figurines line the corners here and there. There is a whole assortment of brilliantly crafted heat-proof earthenware crockery available on display and for sale. The masks on display with the human face as the primary motif can bring an arty feel to any room hung on. The one thing on display that grabbed the attention of most visitors were the little clay fountains with frogs perched on the side; cute and interesting at the same time the frog figurines were not only limited to the fountains but also made into individual figurines perched here and there throughout the display.

The whole exhibit is a treat for the eyes and the mind. Whether you are going for a look-see or to buy, there is a wide range of terra cotta and ceramics artwork to choose from. While providing the market with a fresh view on the local craft of our country, Harappa also supports and tries to save the dying heritage of clay artwork in Bangladesh. So, head on down to the exhibit which is open till 8 May and feast your eyes on the art on display.

By Farah Tarannum



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