The sister duo, Megha and Shipra Agarwal felt the importance of reviving handicrafts in Odisha. Intricate works of Pipili, pattachitra paintings, delicate silver filigree jewellery, Paralakhemundi, tribal dhokra figurines, and Sabai grass weavings, all these are art forms belonging to Odisha. But the Agarwal sisters felt that lakhs of artisans working on this art are not getting their share of due. So, to revive the craft market, they founded KalaGhar in 2016. With this, they aimed to revive the handicraft industry in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.
The sisters realized that the handicraft market is unorganized and is not as technologically advanced as the organized setup. KalaGhar works like an e-commerce platform inspired by the concept of arte util, meaning ‘useful art’ in Spanish. KalaGhar aims to improve the financial capacity of Sabai artisans in the Mayurbhanj District, which homes 45 tribal communities. They not only help artisans develop the products but also help them understand design and trends. The two co-founders Megha and Shipra knew from the beginning that they wanted to create a business that upholds social value.
Collaborating with Baripada Jail
To give social meaning to their venture, the sisters collaborated with the Baripada jail in Mayurbhanj district. They conducted a 7-day workshop on Sabai weaving for the prisoners there. At present, they are working with 70 artisans and aim to add 200 more by 2020. This craft form has become a source of reform for the prisoners.
The road ahead
KalaGhar is working hard towards reviving handicraft and look forward to providing the artisans with the respect and appreciation that they deserve for their work. They also aim to provide quality primary education and basic health services for artisans and their families!