Vedanta Aluminium preserving & promoting local artforms through livelihood development

16th April 2022

  • Works with artists in Odisha and Chhattisgarh to mainstream traditional artforms
  • Extends support in promoting the enterprises of artisans through raw materials, technical expertise, micro-finance and market linkage

New Delhi, 16 April 2022: On World Art Day, Vedanta Aluminium, India’s largest producer of aluminium, strengthens its support to local artisan communities in and around its operations in Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Commemorating the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the country, Vedanta Aluminium recommits to creating sustainable livelihoods for artisan communities by upskilling them, helping them mainstream their artforms at national and international platforms, and avail market linkage opportunities.

Towards this, Vedanta Aluminium is working with Dhokra artisans from the Kankeri village, situated near its Alumina Refinery at Lanjigarh (Kalahandi, Odisha). Nestled deep within the forests of Kalahandi, Kankeri is home to artisans skilled in the ancient metalworking artform of Dhokra, which has been a part of India’s rich handicraft legacy for nearly 5000 years, dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization. The inter-generational skill was however limited to crafting rudimentary trinkets for personal use and for selling in the nearby village markets. However, the meagre income was not enough to sustain their families due to which artists were forced to let go of their expertise and migrate to neighboring states to work as construction labourers.

Recognizing the potential of this village to become a vibrant hub of Dhokra, Vedanta Aluminium trained artisans to produce contemporary designs through modern techniques, provided the initial seed capital for procuring metal and raw materials, and created market linkage opportunities (through exhibitions and other relevant platforms) to sell their art pieces at a better price. This led to a movement of reverse migration, wherein looking at the success of the project in transforming the lives of few artisans, others started returning to the village to pursue their passion of Dhokra art.

Alike, in Chhattisgarh, Vedanta Aluminium paved way for self-reliance of rural women through the community development project ‘Disha’. The Bharat Aluminium Company (BALCO), Vedanta’s Chhattisgarh-based subsidiary conceived Disha project for skill development of local women, helping them form Self-Help Groups (SHG), financially empowering them and enabling them to pursue their entrepreneurial ventures. Among other trainings at the company’s Nari Shakti Kendra in village Dondro, the mural arts program has emerged as a particularly lucrative option for women willing to run micro-enterprises of their own. Mural paintings are the most expressive among Chhattisgarh’s myriad handicraft artforms, aesthetically preserving the various facets of life, tradition and cultural heritage of the state’s tribal populace. From skills training to market linkage, BALCO has continued to support these women for furthering their enterprises.

Talking about Vedanta Aluminium’s endeavours towards preserving and promoting cultural heritage and traditions, Mr. Rahul Sharma, CEO – Vedanta Aluminium said, “The richness of India’s history is evident in its myriad handicrafts and artforms. We take great pride in helping preserve and mainstream artforms like Dhokra and mural paintings, and in the process build flourishing businesses for these artists. On World Art Day, we recommit to bolstering our efforts to create more sustainable livelihoods in art & culture, enabling artisan communities to become self-empowered and self-reliant participants in the development of the country.”

The ripple impact of various community initiatives by Vedanta Aluminium are apparent:

  • In Odisha, encouraged by the fruits of its labour towards revival of Dhokra artform, the company established a raw material bank for continuous art production, provided diesel generators to support Dhokra production, opened a Self-Help Group bank account to provide adequate financial support, and educated and assisted the households to open bank accounts to save their hard-earned money and earn an interest on their deposit
  • Vedanta collaborated with the Government of Odisha for the public recognition of these artisans through ‘artisan cards’, which helped the artisans participate in government-held exhibitions, demonstrate, and commercialise their works
  • The Dhokra Art Revival project has drawn the attention of local authorities, who are now partnering the company in its endeavours to improve the quality of life of local communities by aiding infrastructure, education, agricultural practices, health and sanitation.
  • While in Chhattisgarh, under the community initiatives of BALCO, as many as 3000 women have become financially empowered in Korba. Many of them have established their own ventures in mural art.
  • Through Dhokra art and mural painting, local artisans who were earlier forced to live in abject poverty with minimal income are now earning around INR 50,000 a month.
  • Similarly, Vedanta Aluminium has patronised tribal artforms like ‘Saura’, sand art, folk theatre and many others across its operations.

Vedanta Aluminium, a business of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest manufacturer of aluminium, producing half of India’s aluminium i.e., 1.97 million tonnes in FY21. It is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. 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.

About Vedanta Limited:

Vedanta Limited, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Limited, is one of the world’s leading Oil & Gas and Metals company with significant operations in Oil & Gas, Zinc, Lead, Silver, Copper, Iron Ore, Steel, and Aluminium & Power across India, South Africa and Namibia. For two decades, Vedanta has been contributing significantly to nation building. Governance and sustainable development are at the core of Vedanta's strategy, with a strong focus on health, safety, and environment. Vedanta has put in place a comprehensive framework to be the ESG leader in the natural resources sector. Vedanta is committed to reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050 or sooner and has pledged $5 billion over the next 10 years to accelerate the transition to net zero operations. Giving back is in the DNA of Vedanta, which is focused on enhancing the lives of local communities. The company’s flagship social impact program, Nand Ghars, have been set up as model anganwadis focused on eradicating child malnutrition, providing education, healthcare, and empowering women with skill development. Under the aegis of the Anil Agarwal Foundation, the umbrella entity for Vedanta’s social initiatives, the Vedanta group has pledged Rs 5000 crore over the next five years on social impact programmes with a thrust on nutrition, women & child development, healthcare, animal welfare, and grass-root level sports. Vedanta and the group companies have been featured in Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and was conferred Frost & Sullivan Sustainability Awards 2020, Golden Peacock Award for excellence in Corporate Governance 2022 and certified as a Great Place to Work 2022. Vedanta Limited is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange.

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About Vedanta Aluminium Business:

Vedanta Aluminium, a business of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest producer of aluminium, manufacturing more than half of India’s aluminium i.e., 2.29 million tonnes in FY23. It is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. Vedanta Aluminium ranks 2nd in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) 2022 world rankings for aluminium industry, a reflection of its sustainable development practices. 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.

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