Crossing the chasm of traditional barriers in marketing art

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Painting of Lord Jagannath from Raghurajpur village- taken from internet

I have read somewhere “One Swallow does not make a summer” but Jagnnath Mohaptra is one man that proved this proverb wrong. Several years ago, when this farmer-turner-artist, started gaining unprecedented fame for his Odisha artwork. He started teaching a few villagers the technique of creating these artworks.

Today’s because of his initiative, Raghurajpur, a small village in Puri district, Orissa, is inhabited by artisans producing masterpieces of art in treated canvas, dried palm leaf or paper and many other mediums. Read about him and Raghurajpur over here >>

But as is with all art forms, art itself may give satisfaction but does not fill in the stomach to take care of the next day work. They need patrons, a single art may fetch anywhere from Rs. 500 to 5000 depending on size, medium, complexity etc.

There are dependencies as well; like the art should be picked up as soon as it is completed, there are middlemen that takes away lions-share and this artform itself competes with other traditional Indian art forms. There is a disparity in the effort and reward mechanism in the value chain of creator and user, wouldn’t it be better that users connects directly to creator. The pay-off will not only be in the form of the monetary benefits to artisans, but also like direct feedback on their art forms or any other social aspect of the village.

I read it somewhere

The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow – Bill Gates

Internet is a true leveller, it bridges the gap of 7 oceans in seconds. How about an online gallery with a marketplace for the artisans and buyer “Raghurajpur-Online”. This can be a good start, Raghurajpur artisians can do few more things like to make this a full story

  1. Setting up a co-operative and selling all the art-form through this channel. This increases bargaining power and they can also undertake activities like microfinance to support fellow artisans and villagers
  2. Conducting an Annual Mela to promote art. This mela can invite all well known artists from around the world. This will enhance art and create a reason for renowned artist to be in Raghurajpur once a year
  3. Hire a good PR agency: Public relations is must in case of niche art forms, as marketplace (online or off-line) may itself not pick up the steam, unless people get to know about them from trusted and popular sources like national and international newspaper, magazines, ezines etc.
  4. Last but not the least, they can speak to big corporate to undertake village for CSR activity, this will help to immediately come to limelight and increase the brand association.

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