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Indian Artisans Resiliently Fighting Back COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis

Updated: Sep 12

In the wake of the COVID-19 situation, almost all industries stand struck. One such industry that is worst struck by the pandemic is the Indian Handicrafts and Handloom sectors. These are testing times. It goes beyond the fear of a possible mortal disease. The bigger fear is the lockdown of all social and economic activities. This is especially true for the craftspeople, whose lives are dependent on daily production and sales. Without any Melas or orders – sales have come to an absolute halt. Thousands of artisan communities across India are in a deep crisis, and it has left the artisan families wondering what will get them first – the virus or hunger? 

How are Indian artisans weathering the storm of COVID-19 crisis?

Every industry we can think of is adapting to this new normal of staying home, staying safe. Global brands like Louis Vuitton have started producing face masks instead of luxury baggage! One thing is clear – if you want to stay afloat during this time, you have got to adapt. Sadly, craft and handloom are not essential! When the purchasing power of consumers diminishes, crafts and art pieces are some of the first things one will strike off their list. Artisans are early to have realized this, and they are slowly making a shift towards making functional products of daily use, instead of art pieces with the artistic value alone.

This transition is going to take some time to happen in every artisan’s family, but we’re sure they’re getting there. The products you see today when you search for handcrafted home interior decoration items are very different than what they used to be. At Akkaara, we’re trying our best to help our artisans community to stand strong during these testing times. We believe that our artisans don’t need charity, but just support. We’re here to support them by selling the new line of handicraft items online, and we hope our customers and readers will support them too. 

Art is communication, not just expression

Art is the best form of expression. The changing times have proved that art is communication too. Artisans have turned their passion for expression and creation into communication, trying to create awareness amongst the masses. Art painters have now taken down to creating beautiful art posters that communicate an awareness message. Inspired by the WHO health directives, Kalyan Joshi, a local Phad painter, has created a series of beautiful art posters – promoting awareness about the pandemic, urging people to wear masks, and stay home, stay safe.

Different products for different segmented markets

Just like any other industry, the artisan’s community to are now focusing on producing different products targeted at different segmented markets. While these are not the best times to be making or selling art pieces of high artistic value, artisans are planning their re-entry into the markets by changing what they make and sell. While some are resorting to making one-of-a-kind standalone art pieces for high-end buyers, some are making pieces for day-to-day usages like designed clay pots, chai kullads, and more. Women who made fine embroidery, and colorful bandhani, are now learning the art of making masks.

You sell what customers need – this is the general rule of thumb, and artisans are adapting to this new normal. Check out the new line of handicraft items online at Akkaara, and extend your support to our community of artisans. 

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