This mural encapsulated the day to day life of Chickpete and the surroundings.
by Osheen Gupta
Chickpet’s history along with the weaving past and present of Cottonpet, Nagarathpet and Cubbonpet, outlines a rather interwoven amalgamation of a blurred-past of guilds and artisans coming together and slowly vanquishing from the picture; as the interdependency of communities, as that of Devangas; (from genealogy of yarn into fabric) has been unsewn from the fabric of one huge umbrella of textile production, in some ways.
With the coming of the newly mechanised Powerloom clusters, majorly in Belgaum and Gadag Betgeri, Horizontal, the producer-customer relationship has taken center stage while the handloom craft as an occupation, is becoming austere.
The majority of the weavers start their business with the self-finance. They don’t have adequate supply of finance to modernize their powerlooms which is necessary for greater productivity and better quality of fabric.
Moreover, they don’t have sufficient capital to pile up the stock of raw material when the prices are low. Because of this, they purchase the yarn at higher prices and sell the cloth at lower prices, which results in losses. This also led to the innovation of Room and a Loom, wherein looms started being placed in houses.
In a nutshell, the labourers from the weaving and selling process today, have been facing recurrent obstacles by way of poor infrastructure, obsolete technology, and lack of marketing support. This fabric’s status in today’s world, seems at tangents with the history around what an intensive labour and a piece of silk fabric truly undergo, before being prettily displayed in a retail saree shop; with silk often being worn at occasions of celebration.
The abandoned templates near Chickpet, became the primary area of my muse, which led to the building up of the narrative for my piece. These computer-generated punched cards with holes, used as a template for the powerloom weaving, have a stark similarity to what a morse code would look like.
The mural at Chickpet is about the theory of movement in different layers that surround Chickpet. Before Chickpet was a market, it was a garden, before a garden it was a battlefield and before a battlefield, it was a lake. This mural signifies the coming together of the metro (which is the newest form of movement) along with the lake (the oldest form of movement) and how they coexist in today's world, despite the constant changes, above and below ground. The cow signifies the movement above ground, as it is one of the oldest reared animals in Karnataka and olden day/ Tipu Sultan's mysore. They were prestigious animals who helped us win wars, tend to our lands and feed us. The cow is still used today (and dearly worshipped), as are the ox and bulls; it is a tribute to the work put into rearing them and the work they put out for us. They symbolise the hard work of the people and animals, the movement above ground.