DWARAKA - Development of Women and Rural Artisans for Knowledge and Action, pioneered the revival of the fading art form of hand painted kalamkari in Srikalahasthi in 1998.
After working 20 years for women empowerment, DWARAKA impacted artisans, their livelihoods
and transformed urban and rural communities.
This is DWARAKA and the revival story.
DWARAKA, established for the Development of Women and Rural Artisans for
Knowledge and Action, revives heritage art form of hand-painted Kalamkari touching hundreds of rural and urban poor families, enabling women with skill and livelihood opportunities and transforming communities.
An unplanned journey by Anita Reddy and her father Mr.Dwaraknath Reddy, to Srikalahasti, a small town in Andhra Pradesh in response to a desperate plea by an aging rural artist in 1998, was a turning point in many indigent communities. It was the beginning of the revival of the dying heritage art form of hand-painted kalamkari and in transforming lives of hundreds of women artisans.
Women of this region were caught in the snare of poverty and the struggles that they had endured were tangible. They were eager to be empowered with knowledge, skills, and opportunities. With the belief that everyone has the power and potential to transform their lives, DWARAKA collectivized the artists, especially the women; sharpened their skills; and enabled them to harness their talents into livelihood activities that empowered them to find their strength and rise.
Today, the impact of DWARAKA’s efforts has touched over 3000 artisans, some known and some unknown to us, but all of whom became part of the art revival movement, a movement, which has found a market as well as accolades not just in India but also across the world.
When Action Is Driven
By A Need
Anita Reddy, Founder and Managing Trustee of DWARAKA, recollects:
“Even though I had spent two decades working at the field level in the most challenging circumstances in the slums of Bangalore, India, what I saw in the Srikalahasti region and in the surrounding villages in the year 1998 was totally appalling. The poverty of debt, families shrouded in distress and insecure communities seemed so ironical when there was a storehouse of wealth in the form of heritage art skills waiting for opportunities.
DWARAKA was founded to unlock that storehouse for and by the women artisans themselves.”
First-ever learning center in the region to enhance indigenous traditions and heritage knowledge in children from Government schools, children of the artisans, and in communities. The initiative enables youth to discover the inherent strengths of the area they live in and the wealth of history relevant for the region's development.
After reviving the ancient art tradition of hand-painted Kalamkari Art, DWARAKA has once again created history by creating a new textile design inspired by an ancient art exhibit at the George Washington University Textile Museum.
It is our honour to be selected as one of the artists for the ‘Handmade: Creating Textiles in South Asia’, an exhibition at The Textile Museum of George Washington University curated by the esteemed Art History Professor, Cristin McKnight Sethi.