Every year all the artisans gather to celebrate their work, their accomplishments, their lives. It is an opportunity for the artisans to meet others from all the artisan groups.
Each group plans a performance – if it is a skit, they decide on a theme, write the sequence, practice and then perform before all the artisans.
The atmosphere is one of true celebration where the women come dressed in colorful saris, wear flowers in their hair and are full of smiles and excitement.
Arpan is a cooperative just outside Mumbai with a rich culture of Maharashtrian customs, costumes, dances, food, etc. They performed a traditional dance that is regularly seen during festivals and they were dressed in the traditional saris.
Aashiyana is a cooperative in Central Mumbai and performed a skit demonstrating how parents often give preference to their sons but invariably the daughters are the ones who are more focused, hard working and successful.
The Sahara artisans tackled the problem of water, highlighting how some people are unaware of the problem and use a lot of water. Some people have to stand in line to collect enough water to use the entire day because community taps run only a few of hours a day.
The artisan members of WARE performed a salute to India through a national freedom song. They cleverly depicted the Indian flag of green, white and saffron by women wearing saris of that color.
Ranphol Mahila Mandal
RMM, a relatively new group an hour out of Mumbai, performed a traditional East Indian dance. It was a mix of Indian and Portuguese culture (this was one of the first Portuguese colonies). Some of the women boldly wore pants, shirt and a tie while others wore the sari in the traditional form.
The newest cooperative performed for the first time at Artisan Day. They performed a traditional dance of the harvest celebration, wearing traditional saris, their hair up in the traditional style.
The theme of their skit was interracial marriage, where the boy (a Hindu) and girl (a Muslim) meet at college and are determined to get married. After much conflict, their parents agree and they marry.
The theme of their skit was the cleanliness of your surroundings – in the train, the platform, walking on the streets, etc. The moral was that if someone notices a person throwing garbage, they should say something.