‘Encourage youth to carry forward, keep alive traditional art in Ladakh’
LEH: Ladakh UT is known for its unique cultural heritage and traditional handicrafts. The region’s artisans have been creating exquisite handicrafts for centuries, including hand-woven textiles, hand-carved wooden objects, and intricate metalwork. However, despite the rich cultural heritage and the skills of the artisans, they face several challenges and issues amid growing modern infra and fast world.
One of the issues faced by the artisans of Ladakh UT is the lack of adequate marketing opportunities, said a local artisan and added that most of the artisans operate in remote villages of Leh and Kargil, and they have limited access to markets where they can sell their products. As a result, they often struggle to make a living from their craft.
Besides, he said, “Artisans here lack of access to enough raw materials. Many artisans have to import materials from other regions, which usually are expensive and time-consuming. This further limits our production capacity and impact the quality of their products.”
Not only the present work they do and keep the tradition alive, the younger generation in Ladakh is not as interested in carrying forward traditional artisanal work, or even the traditional and culturally important trades.
“The lack of interest in traditional crafts among younger generations is due to the perception that these crafts are not lucrative and do not offer a secure career path,” said another artisan.
He added that this very negatively impacting issue would lead to loss of traditional knowledge and skills that have been passed down through generations.
The concerned Handicrafts department in the UT however, imparts training in several art work including Wood Carving/ Carpentry, Carpet Weaving, Ladakhi Garment Making, Embroidery, Namda Making, Silver Filigree/ Black Smith, Fresco Painting, (Thanka Painting), Clay Moulding (Sculpture), Papu (shoe) Making, Pottery Making, Basket Making, Stone (Mani Carving), Dragon painting, Hosiery/ Hand Knitting etc.
Another senior craftsperson asserted that to encourage local artisans of Ladakh to carry forward traditional work, the local and the UT administration need to take immediate and time bound steps.
“We here need to be provided with marketing opportunities, creating a network of artisans and connecting them with markets both within and outside the region,” he advised.
The administration and the local artist network need to be imparted with training and support encouraging them to carry forward the traditional art including training in business skills, product development, and marketing, he asserted.
The government must support traditional artisans, by creating incentives for artisans to continue their traditional work, such as tax breaks and subsidies for raw materials. “We need to encourage young people in traditional crafts and encourage them to take up the craft,” he said.
He added that Ladakh needs steps and measures that would help preserve the traditional crafts and ensure that they continue to thrive for generations to come.
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