From RITEN MAZUMDAR - DESIGNING NEW AESTHETICS by Ushmita Sahu
MAY 2016 ART&DEAL
"A designer knows he has achieved location of culture was centred both perfection not when there is nothing left to historically and economically on the add, but when there is nothing left to take condition of the artisan, and thus on away" - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
In the decades following Independence, India witnessed the rise of a collective consciousness of modernist agenda in design inspired by nationalist cultural and economic policies adopted by the new government. An innovative breed of post colonial designers were engaged in changing the idiom of contemporary design based on swadeshi ideology and the radical shift in India’s nationalist programme. Nehru’s vision of Independent India and nation building sought of reconcile western science, technology and modernisation of agriculture on one and, even as he emphasised the rebuilding and revival of small, rural ad cottage industries and indigenous handicrafts represented by the artisan-craftsman. The latter was considered an important part of national heritage, intrinsic to the agenda of agrarian reform. The nationalist location of culture was centred both historically and economically on the condition of the artisan, and thus on the crafts industry. ( from handicrafts, handloom to folk and tribal cultures).
Consequently, the trajectories these designers adopted were eclectic in nature and looked beyond colonial and feudal influences, they drew inspiration from indigenous tradition of Indian crafts and tried to merge it with an aesthetic that was secular in locus and international in approach.
Architects like Le Corbusier, Charles Correa and BV Doshi were generating new forms of architecture focused on function, while furniture and interior designers such a Ratna fabri and Shona Ray were fashioning new forms of handicrafts for the contemporary India. One such important designer to emerge at the time was Riten Mazumdar. In an article on contemporary design in a leading magazine of the time, Jaya Appasamy wrote “There are few contemporary designers in India who can claim to have helped to create modern taste. Riten Mazumdar is outstanding among them”. Mazumdar’s contributions to modernist aesthetics of Indian design owed as much to his educational background as too changing socio-economic and political paradigms of the era. Mazumdar himself wrote in The India Magazine-” There must be a synthesis between designer and craftsman. We as designers must have a profound understanding of both tradition and the changing social and economic patterns of life.
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