Review: From Rural to Urban: How Indian Textile Artists Adapted During Covid-19

Review: From Rural to Urban: How Indian Textile Artists Adapted During Covid-19

India’s ancient handloom art weaves a rich heritage, but it’s survival and growth face daunting challenges and three objectives: empower, preserve, and thrive.

Handloom weaving dates back to ancient times, and after agriculture, handloom weaving is one of the largest economic activities, employing over 11 million weavers and allied workers.

During their presentation, Shani Pillai and Joji Jacob shed light on the artisan community’s struggles, including those in tribal, rural, and urban areas. They particularly highlighted the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the weaving, performing arts, and handicraft sectors. The disrupted supply chains, reduced demand, and loss of income have compelled many of these artisans to either migrate or pursue alternative avenues for their livelihood.

Three designers were featured, discussing the struggles that artisans have faced during the pandemic. They highlighted some of their innovative ideas, developed during this challenging period by adapting the nature of the products made, to appeal to the modern market, helping them succeed in the post-pandemic environment. We heard about the groups that have made a difference in preserving traditional practices, in the fight to retain this knowledge in a modernising post-covid world.

By utilising online platforms, social media, self-help groups, they were able to learn new ways to market their products, access raw materials, and get financial support. They have also improved their skills, diversified their products, and collaborated with other artisans and designers. Their resilience, creativity, and courage in the face of adversity are truly remarkable, while also preserving valuable traditions.

To hear their stories directly from the designers and see their work, please follow this link: https://atitravel.nz/from-rural-to-urban-how-indian-textile-artists-adapted-during-covid-19/

Photo and text credit: Joji Jacob