On one of its documentation trips, Project Kalayatra met award winning master craftsman Zakir Hussain, enlightening us on the crusade to protect this dying art form. An art conservationist, Hussain is an artist in true character, he is unabashed, honest and his fingers carve out some of the most beautiful artefacts worked out of camel bone. His mentorship program involving young men who are encouraged to work with him and learn the art while they are awarded by a monthly stipend has helped incredibly in preserving this art form. Having represented India in numerous art summits across the globe, he had recently returned from one in Italy, sent there by the Indian government. The mentorship program, though Hussain’s brainchild, has got backing from the government too, though the battle has been far from easy.
Hussain speaks at length about the beauty of the craft, the zeal of the youngsters, the worries that plague them and the help by the government in all its honest truth. Here’s the story of these gifted craftsmen, huddled together in the workshop near Hanuman Chowk, Jodhpur. The tale of an art form, he is working relentlessly to preserve, the camel bone artistry from Rajasthan.