New Delhi, October 2, 2015
If you have flown into Bengaluru in recent times, you would have noticed the aesthetic murals at the airport there. If you visit the Axis Bank office in Mumbai, you will get a breathtaking exposure to the art forms of India represented on each of the nine floors of the building with a theme – ranging from environment, to brotherhood to unity.
Or it could be a hotel in the pilgrim centre of Tirupati, which features murals to carefully designed door knobs and handles.
The person behind all this is a very soft spoken and unassuming curator cum artist Shibani Jain, who has been running a successful design studio called Baaya based in Mumbai.
A designer by education, Ms Jain is an alumnus from National Institute of Design (NID) Ahmedabad. In the last 25 years, she has worked with the corporate sector and grown two sizeable companies from scratch. She is now passionately involved in growing Baaya Design, a design studio she founded in 2009.
Over the last 14 years, she has worked extensively with arts and crafts at the grass root level and with various craft groups across India, bringing their products to new markets. She is well-versed
with the real-life issues involved with the crafts sector. She inherits many interests. Being a design-entrepreneur, she claims extensive knowledge of folk art from India. She travels extensively through
India and overseas essentially to collect curios from across the states and the world!
At Baaya, design meets tradition , says Ms. Jain , who was in Delhi at the invite of Asian Paints to showcase her work on actual walls for the benefit of designers, artists and prospective customers.
Says Ms Jain: “Baaya is a design store and studio. We provide a unique experiential environment, which not only showcases the most authentic arts and crafts from across India, but also presents them in the most innovative manner, that meet contemporary expectations.”
“One can see and purchase or order a customized artwork from over 30 types of arts and crafts, surface applications, installations all across India. Baaya Design works with master artisans to create the most fascinating murals, accent furniture, accessories and lights. Baaya’s designers work closely with customers towards creating theme/size/color-based customized applications for interiors”, she told NetIndian in a freewheeling interview in the capital.
"It’s a delight for travelers and tourists to see the amazing richness and variety of Indian art forms ranging from Kalamkari to Madhubani. Baaya actually promotes as many as nine art forms on walls and is discovering more, there is a lot in Jharkhand to be popularized," says Ms Shibani Jain.
You can also discover stunning artworks from various states. For instance, you can explore how brass work has been contemporized with Italian design or rich stained glass painting at Baaya.
Wall Art by Baaya Design at Asian Paints store in Kolkata
Ms Jain works with passion promoting the crafts sector and the talented artisans to bring them fame and their dues. She founded Baaya Design at Raghuvanshi Mills, Mumbai, where design meets tradition in the most meaningful way.
Baaya Design, says Ms Jain, also offers project-based consultancy for interiors (folk art murals, skill-based installations, artefacts, art furniture and lighting). “We design and develop our own range of home accessories. We also select and source interesting products from various corners of India,” she said.
Baaya Design has completed many large projects for prestigious corporate houses to provide art and interior styling. It has created murals, furniture, lights and other exciting interior options in guest
houses, residences, and restaurants and worked closely with architects and designers to create dazzling spaces that are truly one of a kind.
Ms Jain, who describes herself as a social entrepreneur, said she participates in international expos where there is an opportunity to showcase Indian art forms. But that’s a crowded space demanding attention from visitors which is a big challenge, she said.
While taking Indian art forms to overseas for education and popularity, Ms Jain said it was equally possible to pick up art forms from different nations and bring them to India. Citing an example, she said South Africa had excellent art works in stone which can be brought to India and popularized.
But this art form has not got the recognition due to it. She said the African continent is so rich in culture, tradition and art forms which need to be brought out more on the global stage. Countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Ghana are places from where art forms or artefacts can be brought out, she pointed out.
"Art on walls is yet to gain popularity in these countries to promote their arts and this is an opportunity," she said.
Ms. Jain does most of her work through her own funds to promote her rendition of Indian art and culture through various forms from art on walls to designing artefacts and making them more contemporary.
“I sincerely believe that this is an area that I want to insulate myself against investors, because I do this work more for promoting art forms than for commercial reasons. An artist would tend to lose her independence and creativity if investors came on board,” she added.