Banjara art in Bangalore

Posted by sunanda  |  18. October 2008

Sandalwood may spell sweet magic all over the city, but tribal art is not far behind. Sunanda Pati tells you why.

What stands in contrast to the barrenness represented by the deserts of Rajasthan is the creativity of their women folks. While on one hand you have the bone dry aspect of the blowing sand, on the other there are colors that speak of lushness and fertility. We are talking about the Lambani tribal women here. But Rajasthan isn’t the only place they are found. Lambani art and craft have become an integral part of the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka as well. The Bellary district acts as the center of all Lambani art. Heavy embellishments with silver coins, metal pieces and colorful bits adorn clothes, bags, table cloths as well as cushion covers, mats and veils. Bangalore too has had a great hand to play in promoting this variety of tribal art. Emporiums like Cauvery and Gurjari have everything that could get a buyer interested.

What to look out for
The eye- catching part of it all is of course their jewelry. Big, bold, chunky and beautiful Lambani jewelry, appeal to natives as well as tourists. But that’s not all that charms the visitors. As Tabrez from Tala Kaveri Handcrafts puts it, “If there’s anything as popular as sandalwood and rosewood items in the city, it is art created and inspired by the Lambani tribes. They can be anything from jewelry to home décor items and even toys. More than natives or even Indians, the Non Residential Indians (NRIs) who show maximum interest in this kind of craft”. Go festive, go Lambani!

Lambani art and craft attains a magnificent scale during festive seasons. Across the city, one can find little spots taken over by women from these tribes, in the process of making some of the most delightful pieces of clothing.  The traditional costume worn by every Lambani woman has almost become a fashion statement now. So even if you’re not creatively inclined, don’t be surprised if you find yourself drawn to one of them! A typical Lambani garb consists of the Kachadi, the blouse, the Kurta, the Phetia or the skirt and the Chantiya, the veil. The expenditure increases if you wish to buy the pieces of jewelry- the bangles, armlets, nose rings and anklets- that make the costume come alive. Not only metal but glass chunks of various colors is also the highlight of the Lambani women’s accessories. But who cares whether it’s glass or brass as long as it’s as colorful as Lambani art?

Getting the Lambani puzzle right
When you go to Cauvery Arts and Crafts, Gurjari Emporium or even Tala Kaveri Handcrafts, you’ll find Lambani art does not revolve only around clothing or jewelry. Toys, showpieces, mats and bags are equally popular and regarded by craft collectors. Amongst home décor pieces, the toran and tokri are perhaps the most pleasing to the eye. The toran, with mirrors and tassels, look inviting when you hang it over a door. The tokri with its umbrella- shaped velvet colored top and felt animals (like horses, elephants and birds) bordered with golden zari look excellent when hung down from a low ceiling.

On the lookout
If you’re trying to find the best of Lambani art in Bangalore, you’ll have to strive tirelessly. In case your budget does not permit you to buy the original stuff, you can always settle for a close copy. Lambani jewelry can be found in abundance on Commercial Street, Russell Market and Residency Road. For the traditional costume, no place would serve better than Safina Plaza in Shivaji Nagar. Finally if it’s the gypsy feel you’re looking for then nothing other than Lambani art could beat it at the game!

Copyright © 2008-2010 Double Spring Media (India) Pvt. Ltd All rights reserved.