Vedanta Lanjigarh helps train a new generation of Saura enthusiasts
36 students handpicked to undergo a six-month training program in the art form
Lanjigarh, Kalahandi District; 26th September, 2022: Vedanta Limited, Lanjigarh, India’s premier producer of metallurgical grade alumina, has commenced a six-month training program for students in the tribal artform of ‘Saura’, at the SSD High School in Lanjigarh, Kalahandi district, Odisha. 36 students have been handpicked for the training program, based on their interest and aptitude.
Saura art features prominently in the tribal arts heritage of Odisha. The art form draws inspiration from nature and the artists’ ways of life that includes animals, farmers, elements of nature, gods, natural spirits and ancestors. Witnessing Saura art lose its sheen in the throes of modernity, Vedanta Lanjigarh stepped in to preserve and promote the artform. In addition to the training program for students, the company is also supporting the professional training of around 20 Saura painting exponents. Further, Vedanta Lanjigarh is assisting them in developing producer groups to enable better market opportunities and visibility for their handicrafts.
Speaking about Vedanta Lanjigarh’s intervention to preserve this ancient art form, Mr. GG Pal, Dy. CEO – Alumina Business, Vedanta Limited, said “We take a great sense of responsibility towards preserving the rich cultural heritage of Odisha, through its myriad arts and crafts. Saura art is a reminder of the innate ability of human beings to create beautiful artifacts with the bare minimum tools. By immersing the young generations in the opportunity to engage with this ancient art form, we are creating the possibility of new innovations and applications of Saura art in the modern world.”
Smt. Mamata Majhi, the teacher coordinating the program, said “I am happy that our students are getting an opportunity to hone their creative skills, and in the process helping preserve the artistic heritage of our Odia culture. We are grateful to Vedanta Lanjigarh for giving our children such avenues to express themselves creatively while staying attuned to our valued traditions.”
In addition to its efforts in preserving Saura Art, Vedanta Lanjigarh has also received several accolades for its contributions towards preserving Dhokra craft, which is an ancient metalworking artform that dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization. In the Kankeri village of Lanjigarh, the craft had been passed down to the inhabitants through generations, but their craftsmanship was limited to rudimentary trinkets which did not have much market value. Dejected by the hand to mouth existence, many of these artisans moved to other states to work as migrant laborers, in the hopes of earning a stable income.
Looking at their potential, the team at Vedanta Lanjigarh worked with the residents of Kankeri village, enabling them with raw materials, trainings in contemporary designs, art exhibitions and market linkages. This initiative infused new vigour into the Dhokra artisans’ fraternity, for their designs fetched them much higher incomes. Looking at their success, many of the earlier migrants returned to Kankeri to take up the craft once again.
Vedanta Aluminium, a business of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest producer of aluminium, manufacturing half of India’s aluminium i.e., 2.26 million tonnes in FY22. It is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. Vedanta Aluminium ranks 4th in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) 2021 world rankings for aluminium industry, a reflection of its sustainable development practices. The company operates a 2 MTPA (million tonnes per annum) capacity alumina refinery in Lanjigarh (Kalahandi district, Odisha), India since 2007 and an associated 75 MW captive power plant. With its world-class aluminium smelters, alumina refinery and power plants in India, the company fulfils its mission of spurring emerging applications of aluminium as the ‘Metal of the Future’ for a greener tomorrow.