WATCH: Neelesh Misra's '10000 Creators Project' kicks off in Chhattisgarh, MoU signed with Bastar district admin

The project, which seeks to connect rural artisans, craftspersons and other creative artists with the urban markets, was launched in Chhattisgarh's Bastar district in the presence of Chief Minister Bhupesh Singh Baghel and Bastar District Magistrate Rajat Bansal. Details here.

WATCH: Neelesh Misras 10000 Creators Project kicks off in Chhattisgarh, MoU signed with Bastar district adminNeelesh Misra, founder of The Slow Movement, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Singh Baghel and Bastar District Magistrate Rajat Bansal at the MoU event in Bastar.

With an aim to connect the rural artists with their potential patrons in the urban areas, Neelesh Misra's '10000 Creators Project' embarked on an unparalleled journey with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bastar district administration yesterday, on April 2.

"This signing of an MoU with the Bastar district is the first step towards realising our ambition of being able to act as a bridge between the lesser known creative artists practising their art in the obscure confines of their rural addresses and the urban audience which values their rich heritage," Neelesh Misra, founder of The Slow Movement told Gaon Connection.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Singh Baghel, who participated in the event stated that the Bastar district is blessed with an immensely rich cultural heritage which needs projects like the 10000 Creators Project to connect it with the audience across the world.

"Neelesh ji talked about the Dhokra art, the Bastar coffee and the cultivation of cashew. As you can see the district has immense potential for becoming a centre of a cultural heritage. The adivasi culture in the district also teaches us the mannerism which is the need of the hour to live a life which is sustainable with our surroundings," Baghel said at the event.

"The distinction between the rightful need and the limitless greed is the quintessential feature of the district's tribal value system," the chief minister added.

Also, a short film on The Slow Movement's engagement with the Bastar district was displayed in the event which also showcased Neelesh Misra's interaction with a veteran Dhokra artist named Fagnuram Sagar who is locally known as Phagnu Dada and belongs to Chhattisgarh's Chilkuti vcillage. He artist was felicitated by Chief Minister Baghel at the event.

"Bahot mehnat ka kaam hai ye… bahot achha kala hai. Sab achha raha to mere bachche k bachche bhi seekh jayenge," Fagnuram Sagar told Neelesh Misra in the interaction which was a part of the short film — and many such films will be produced as part of the 'The Slow Journey' in a bid to portray the lives and the struggles of artists like Phagnu Dada who await their much deserved recognition. (The Dhokra art requires a lot of hard labour. If all goes well, I'll be happy if my future generations continue practising this heritage)

Dhokra art involves the making of metal figurines fashioned from bronze and copper based alloys using a 'lost wax casting' technique which uses wax moulds to create small hand-made show pieces.

"The traditional idea that is prevalent in the nature of connection between the urban patrons and the rural creators has so far been based around the premise of — 'Hey, let me buy that rug and their kids will go to school'. We want to break away from this 'mercy relationship' or 'charity relationship'. There is something that these creators offer which is not available in the market yet," Misra told Gaon Connection.

"The empathy, the humility and the respect for these artists will also find an expression in the prices of the products they make. The idea is to instil the feeling amongst the audience that if you think that these artists deserve to live better lives, charity is not going to suffice and their products will have to be bought at prices that actually respect these creators," Misra added.

The '10,000 Creators Project'

The project seeks to bring about a positive change in the lives of 10,000 'creators' from the country's rural hinterland. In order to do so, these creators will be provided an increased income by including their products on The Slow Movement's digital platforms including the Slow Bazaar and The Slow App. Also, these artists will be skilled with the knowledge that helps them in getting better prices for their products.

"Gradually, we also seek to provide social security benefits such as health and life insurances. We will also provide the tools and technology needed by these artists for the production of their art form or the products that they make," Neelesh Misra told Gaon Connection.

"The essence of the 'Ten Thousand Creators Project' is that it does not need paid influencers to market the products of these creators because the creator itself is our influence. We will shoot videos about them, the lives they live, the struggles they have, we will place them in our narrative such as the likes of The Slow Interview and The Slow Journey," he added.

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