Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Shrujan Museum (Living and Learning Design Centre) - a labour of love

The Shrujan Living and Learning Design Centre (LLDC) is "the pearl in the necklace of Kutch". Built at a cost of Rs 26 crores, this is a "Living Museum" because there are so many craftspeople in this region actively associated with this museum.
The Shrujan story is known to everyone: how Chandaben Shroff went to Kutch for famine relief in 1969, and then decided that the fabulous embroidery deserved a better market. The first exhibition was of 30 sarees, at Rampart Row in Mumbai. All the sarees were sold out!

Most of the early efforts were all in the form of exhibitions, especially in Mumbai, where the Shroff family is from. But eventually shops were opened. There is now a shop in Bhulabhai Desai Road in Mumbai, and in Safina Plaza in Bangalore. There are also shops in Gujarat (Baroda, Ahmedabad and Kutch). But exhibitions still are a major source of sales.

Shrujan Trust is now close to 50 years old. Over 4000 craftswomen living in 120 remote villages of Kutch and Banaskantha earn a dignified and sustainable livelihood through Shrujan's efforts. An important aspect of this work is that Shrujan sends the textiles, threads, etc to their doorstep and settles payments also at their doorstep as soon as the embroidery is done.

Chandaben says that they don't worry about selling the textiles. Their objective is to provide lielihood. Thus their purchase is always more than their sales! What an amazing woman.

Shrujan also organises eye camps for its women, and provides spectacles. The work that is done is very fine embroidery, and often older women are unable to work due to failing eyesight. See these beautiful sarees, with such fine work, from one of their exhibitions:

LLDC is near Bhuj, in Kutch. The museum complex has three galleries as well as a hands-on gallery. Galleries 1 and 2 will exhibit craft-based shows curated from the LLDC permanent collection. Gallery 3 will exhibit craft-based shows curated from the collections of master kaarigars and private collectors. The hands-on gallery will provide a fun experience in the practice of some of the crafts.

Workshops and short-term courses will also take place in the 125-seat auditorium and 25-seat conference room. These will provide intensive, need-based training to practising craftspersons. Master kaarigars will play a key role as teachers and mentors. They will also have workshops for museum visitors and design/fashion school students.

There's a colletion of photos here, showing the museum being created. Those who enjoy architecture will love the buildings in progress:

Chandaben is now 82. Her daughter Ami now is running Shrujan. Interview with Ami Shroff is here: she is the Director of the museum.

Photos of the museum exhibits/lighting are here:

How to get to LLDC: It is just off the Bhuj-Bhachau highway near the village of Ajrakpur in Kutch. Stay in Bhuj and make the drive. On the way you can visit both Bhujodi and Ajrakhpur, which are major textile centres. Here is a map:

No comments:

Post a Comment