Bhubaneswar, Dec 27 (LocalWire): Bandha kala or Ikta art is a traditional art and it needs such perfection that machine can never replace Ikta artists, says eminent Ikta artist Surendra Meher from Barapalli.
Ganhadhar Meher University has announced to confer D Litt on Meher on the convocation ceremony of the varsity on January 4, who has created a niche in Ikta art.
Born in 1959, the youngest son of Barpalli’s legendary Ikta weaver Padmashri Kunja Bihari Meher, received national award in 1991 and state level award three times – in 1987, 1988 and 1989.
Surendra has also been conferred with Kabir award and UNESCO craft prize.
He is the author of book ‘Bandhasilpara Bidesh Anubhuti’ (Foreign experience of Ikta art)
LocalWire had a chitchat with the famous weaver and here are the excerpts
Who inspired you for Ikta art and what does it mean to you – passion or profession?
It is our traditional job. So, I have been practicing the art since childhood being inspired by my father.
But, one thing my father told me that ‘to take this art to international level, you have to obtain higher education first’ and that is what I did.
First I pursued my education and then dedicated myself in Ikta weaving.
Talking about future of Ikta art and as a profession for livelihood, he said the art has a bright future and technology has failed to replace it, what I have experienced during my visit to different places and countries.
The art has an international demand. Once I was on a two-month visit to America and it was a very nice experience to be highly praised for the traditional art of Odisha.
It has a demanding international market. One can easily earn livelihood taking it as a profession and no doubt on it, Meher said.
Are you happy with government initiatives to promote this art?
He replies yes, the government is promoting the art and we artists as well to reach it across the world.
Now, students are pursuing engineering course on Ikta art and it is the recognition. The art is placed in the syllabus of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT). Special training on the art is available at Indian Institute of Handloom Technology.
Ikta weaving has presence in many countries and people are liking to wear, saree, dress, kurtee etc with Ikta art.
Whom will you credit for the honour being conferred on you?
At first I will thank my parents who inspired me at every step to reach at where I am today. And no doubt the blessings of Maa Samaleswari are with me.
With this, Gangadhar Meher has been my inspire and his blessing are always with me.