ITC Grand Chola

Published in Eves Touch magazine Sept 2012

Chennai’s brad new landmark, ITC Grand Chola at Guindy, whose narrative architecture glitters with the artistic beauty of the Chola dynasty, grandly hosted a few events for Kaivalam.

International Craft Expo:

The massive hall at Grand Chola was filled with modest women & men clad in traditional Islamic clothing from Egypt, Pakistan, Palestine, Iran, Jordan, Oman, Kuwait, Uzbekistan & Lebanon; stylish people from Thailand, South Korea, Phillippines, Swaziland, China & Laos; energetic lot from Namibia & Zimbabwe; native Indians; and artisans from other SAARC countries – all showing their unique artefacts, both traditional and contemporary.

A few of the stalls which caught the eyes:

Tribal Truct Art from Pakistan:

Colorful trucks in bright colors displayed at the stall attracted everybody’s hearts and legs to take a closer look at them. Ms. Anjum Rana, a.k.a. Anjrana at the stall joyfully explains, “We use oil and enamel paints & use squirrel hair brushes. A small truck would take up to a week to finish and I have been doing this for the past 11 years”. Anjrana, an interior designer, represents the new Pakistani woman, entrepreneurial, accomplished and creative. “My artists paint on lamps, lanterns, mugs, kettles, trays, boxes, watering cans & buckets which have become home accessories in most houses of Pakistan”, she adds.

Anjrana at Pakistani Truck Art Stall

(Ms. Anjrana at the ‘Tribal Truck Art’ stall from Pakistan)

She proudly says, “ In 2008, I was given the UNESCO seal of excellence in Handicrafts award for Truck art. This year, I took two artists and painted 2 vehicles for the King Hussein Automobile Museum in Amman, Jordan. And then in July, we were invited to paint two Italian restaurants in Byblos, Beirut. Please visit my website  to contact me”.

A closer look at the truck art

(A closer look at the truck art from Pakistan)


Cheongju Pyrography, South Korea

Cheongju is the transportation core of Korea, located centrally in the peninsula. Cheongju is also the cradle of print culture, which gave birth to Jikji, the best metal type in the world still in effect today. A Craft Committe, Cheongju International Craft Biennale is devoted to broadening the horizon of craft culture and opening up channels of communication through craft. They host activities in all craft including metal design, pottery, wood, textiles and glass. More art forms of South Korea can be learnt from and


(Pyrography – an intangible cultural asset of Chungbuk, a province in the centre of South Korea)

Chinese traditional art forms:

The Chinese, with their rich culture, showcased embroided textiles, rattan plaited articles, ceramics and lacework. Their traditional drawn – work, also known as “lacework”, is to knot with spun yarn, or to form carved ornamental patterns by drawing the warps or wefts of the patterns and then lining the engraved parts together on the linen cloth, cotton cloth or other materials. With this, they make  various necessities like table cloth, window curtain, tray cloth, handkerchief,etc. Knitting is one of their oldest handworks and the raw materials used are bamboo, rattan, grass, palm, willow and fiber.

Chinese art works

(Chinese art works .Clockwise from top: A Chinese woman showing a transparent ceramic bowl, Silk kerchiefs and ceramic cups & bowls, a wall hanging with women in traditional Chinese clothes, terracotta dolls in Kung Fu postures, and some more silk shawls )

Glass pens from Thailand:

Made in Thailand by artisans using traditional techniques, these pens have a unique dip style nib. Dip once into the pot of ink and you’ ll be able to write almost a full A4 page of script! A chic lady at the stall says, “The pen is about 6 inches long. The ink is available in pink, lilac, blue, green, black, red, amber and yellow. One box includes glass dip pen, ink and pen rest”. She asks the visitors to try writing using the pen and ink. “It is a perfect birthday gift”, she smiles.

Glass pens from Thailand

There were other unique art forms from various countries, you will need at least a day to visit all of them.


The Joy experienced by the wearer is the necessary result of the joy experienced by the creator. Anybody who entered the hall which is labelled ‘Ganjam’ would surrender to ART, seeing the skilful artists at work. Their action will put any 9 to 6 job doer to depression, will make them wonder “What am I doing at Office every day?”. Such is the beauty of the end product.

A huge board inside says,“When the Ganjam master craftsmen take over a design, making every piece by hand, without consideration for the time it will take, they bring to life the subtle variance in natural stones. Only then is the piece of jewellery born.” Very true!