Discipline Faculty

Toy Town

Ashwathi Ramesh

Dr. Shilpa Das

Channapatna, the toy town of Karnataka known for its lacquerware, is home to over five thousand artisans. Their colorful, wooden toys are designed to sharpen the minds of children. The craft is protected as a geographical indication under the World Trade Organization and is popular across the globe. Unfortunately, it has declined due to competition and cheap imitations from China.
Some NGOs are working towards reviving the art by supplying the artisans with contemporary designs to compete with global standards. Ashwathi made a documentary on Channapatna when she realized that there was no visual medium to support the struggle. She captured the process of toy-making while focusing on their revival and sustaining the livelihood of the community. She provided a visual text to the fight for relevance and sustenance in the hope that it would help to win a long drawn-out battle.