Karnataka artisans’ ‘magical dolls’ on display

New Delhi: Artisans of Karnataka have been randomly practising their traditional and creative ideas for many decades. As one of their traditions, idol making is quite remarkable.

The state has around 140 temples, including examples of early Chalukya, Rashtrakuta and later Chalukya. It has a variety of folk arts, including folk dance and puppetry. Kannal village of Koppal district is a busy place for the idol makers and pot makers.

Exquisite dolls representing their traditional dance form — Gaarudi Gombe — are on display till July 22 in the show titled “Gombe” at Art Konsult, Hauz Khas Village here.

The term Gaarudi Gombe basically means magical doll in Kannada and the dancers adorn themselves with giant doll-suits made of bamboo sticks.

The dolls are made of well aged jackfruit tree wood or Halasa Mara that is found in abundance in the forests of Karnataka where this dance is performed during major festivals. It is also an important part of the processions held during the Mysore Dasara.

These idols, which anyone can categorise as folk art and puppetry, are very rich in terms of their quality. They look very simple but in that simplicity, one can experience a certain maturity and modernity that is known to have come out after a practice of many decades.

Their appearances reflect a lot of similitude with Odisha and Bengal Patachitra. The main differences are in the format of the works because the Patachitras are two dimensional whereas these Karnataka idols are three dimensional.

“Art and craft reflect a very universal truth because the inner feeling of the human race in their day to day function is related with religious cultural affinity. This is always reflected in their craft,” Art Konsult owner Siddhartha Tagore said in a statement released on Saturday.

He said the exhibition, being organised by the Management of Art Treasures of India (MATI), presents the history of indigenous art.