Despite the rain gods ganging up on the 11th of July, Enactus IP College for Women managed to pull through. The team’s efforts to sell the products made under Project Aipan turned out to be a huge success.
Project Aipan, an initiative by Enactus Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi has taken up the cause of reviving Aipan–an art form hailing from Kumaon, Uttarakhand. The team is working to preserve its history with a group of Kumaoni housewives, residing in the Timarpur area of New Delhi. The Project has the twin objective of raising awareness about Aipan art, and thereby empowering the target community.
Under Project Aipan, upto 50 products have been made till date, since November 2014. The products include Aipan bookmarks, diaries, ‘shagun’ envelopes, greeting cards and canvas paintings which are also sold through an online portal – jabweshop.com.
About Project Aipan
‘Aipan’ is derivative of the Sanskrit word ‘Arpan,’ which means ‘to pigment.’ True to the very essence of the word, Aipan art is used to fill colours in routine and celebrate the multihued facets of life. Auspicious in its bearing and traditionally made using using a red coloured ocher and rice paste with the last three fingers of the hand, this art form adorns the walls and floors of various households in Kumaon.
The art comprises lines, dots, and various geometric and rhythmic patterns. Every element and motif has special meaning. Depiction of the several Hindu deities, representation of Goddess Lakshmi, motifs inspired from the village life, streams and rivers, and the protective Mountain Gods—everything tells a story, limns the rich cultural heritage.
Over the years, the practice of this art has declined substantially which is why at present, it is left with almost nobody to carry forward the legacy. Many from Kumaon have migrated to cities in search of livelihoods; the dictates of modern life leave little time to appreciate and indulge in making Aipan art.
Moreover, ready-to-use stickers which, though more convenient to Kumaoni people today, can never replace the hand drawn Aipan art in its essence. The percolation of factual and practical knowledge of Aipan art has also dwindled among the Kumaoni community. The awareness about a craft which once used to be passed onto generations of Kumaoni women by their elders, as not only a custom but also as a symbol of wisdom and affection, has deteriorated to such an extent that the art form is now heartbreakingly drawing its last breath.
In an effort to revive this art form to its former glory, Project Aipan has been launched by the members of Enactus, IPCW, to resuscitate the art form and empower a community of Kumaoni housewives through entrepreneurial action. Under Project Aipan, beautiful Aipan motifs have been adapted on canvases, bookmarks, greeting cards, diaries, folders, and other items of stationery. All products are hand painted by the project beneficiaries.