ArrayNew Delhi, December 13 (IANSlife): With a focus on the indigenous wool story and wool artisans of India,’Desi Oon’, an online exhibition-sale currently ongoing, will feature vignettes of India’s rich diversity of indigenous wool and woollens, created by an ecosystem of herders, hand spinners, weavers, felters and dyers.
Presented by Centre for Pastoralism, which is also engaged in revitalising the indigenous wool economy and culture, the ‘Desi Oon’ exhibition and an accompanying film festival are amongst the many initiatives that took root in the pastures of the Living Lightly project – a travelling exhibition on the lands, lives, and livelihoods of the Indian Pastoralists.
The film festival, curated by Srishti Films, launches December 19 with a keynote address by eminent filmmaker Stanzin Dorjai whose film ‘Shepherdess of the Glaciers’ is among the award-winning documentaries and feature films being screened at the festival. Scheduled are panel discussions on pressing pastoral-related issues – from livelihoods to displacement, with panelists that are community members, activists, academics and student filmmakers.
The ‘Desi Oon’ story, through the journey of the wool fibre, traces the movement of sheep; the uniqueness of each breed; gorgeous diversity of traditional products and the wonderful skill of wool artisans.
As Neelkanth Mama, an octogenarian herder, puts it, “Herding sheep is our dharma, more than a mere occupation. It has been entrusted upon us by the divine.”
In the past two decades, however, procurement the procurement of wool has fallen drastically which has led to a significant drop in secondary incomes for the herders. India’s wool requirements are met largely by imported wool, a commercial production system which has affected indigenous economy. In this ‘new normal’, ‘Desi Oon’ shows how pastoralists and artisans inhabit time and space, work and leisure; and the possibilities of resilience they hold in a world endangered by climate change. If revived, the local wool creative industry can engage millions in rural India, and lead a global shift towards green production.
The show seeks to connect pastoralists and artisans with designers and some of India’s best craft organizations trying to revive an entire value chain of indigenous wool. Each partnering organization highlights a particular sheep breed — the Black Deccani Sheep by Mitan and Earthen Tunes, Harsil sheep by Avani and Peoli, Chokla by Rangsutra, Patanwadi by Khamir, and the indigenized Gaddi-Merino sheep of Himachal Pradesh by Aana Jana and Kullvi Whims.
“Pastoralism is an intelligent production system with no equal. It takes uncertainty as an input to clothe and feed humans and nurture agricultural fields,” says Gopi Krishna, noted civil society participant and member of Mitan.
Desi Oon is available to see on shop.rangsutra.com from December 10-25, 2020.