Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Ministry of Culture, Government of India has set up the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design with the objective to empower the indigenous craftsmen of India and to establish an international presence for their artworks. This Centre, named as Project Aatman is housed at an old barrack constructed in the year 1861 in the Red Fort premises, a site of national importance representing our rich past and culture. What is strikingly outstanding about this Centre is its philosophy to facilitate a self-reliant nation, a mission led by the Honourable Prime Minister of India in relation to the economic development of the country.
The Centre is facilitating craft development through new design innovations in sync with current trends for a niche market. To achieve this, Project Aatman is working towards creating successful collaborations with exceptionally talented artisans, subject experts, and other stakeholders to develop innovative solutions on design, marketing and business challenges. Relevant Ministries and Institutions at national level like National Institute of Design, Kalakshetra Foundation, Kalam Centre are playing a significant role in empowering the indigenous traditions of India. Independent craft projects are being mentored here by well-known designers and marketing professionals. Collaborations with all stakeholders are being meticulously planned to present the craft projects, linking our heritage with a renewed commitment to the future. Apart from reinventing the craft sector, Poject Aatman Is also providing economic stability and livelihood to the people associated with it.
The thrust areas for this Incubation Centre are-
Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design is being developed as a one-of-a-kind platform to innovate and showcase the most significant and diverse segment of our heritage. The rich resource is available to the public to learn from, engage with, and appreciate.
As we celebrate 75 years of India’s Independence, the Centre will create a rich legacy for future generations, embedded in centuries-old local traditions and culture.
The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts encompasses the study and experience of all the arts – each form with its own integrity, yet within a dimension of mutual interdependence, interrelated with nature, social structure, and cosmology.
This view of the arts, integrated with, and essential to the larger matrix of human culture, recognises the role of the arts as essential to the integral quality of a person, at home with himself and society. It shares the holistic worldview so powerfully articulated throughout Indian tradition, and emphasized by modern Indian leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.
The arts here are understood to comprise the fields of creative and critical literature, written and oral; the visual arts, ranging from architecture, sculpture, painting, and graphics to general material culture, photography, and film; the performing arts of music, dance and theatre in their broadest connotation; and all else in fairs, festivals, and lifestyle that has an artistic dimension. Through diverse programmes of research, publication, training, creative activities, and performance, the IGNCA is continuously striving to place the arts within the context of the natural and human environment. The fundamental approach of the Centre is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary.
Recognizing the need to encompass and preserve the indigenous handicraft heritage of the country, a pioneering endeavour by IGNCA is to serve as a major resource centre for the crafts, and provide sustenance to the craft community in India. Project Aatman – Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design, as a subdivision of IGNCA, will accomplish this vision of a self-reliant India, rooted in our nation’s heritage and culture.
The world is emerging from the crisis of the COVID pandemic which affected the lives of millions across the world, especially those that rely on micro and small medium industries. This project is a significant step towards eradicating the economic degradation of the Indian artisans working with traditional crafts. Accordingly, the Centre will be the first of its kind to have the following objectives-
Education about crafts including Gi Products
Exchange of Ideas to Ignite Innovation with crafts
Economic Opportunities with Craft Products
Experience Creation around Products
Entrepreneurship Programmes for the Craft Community
The approach towards the project is all-inclusive to encourage artisans across India to access benefits through this intervention. In addition, the Centre is expected to have multiple benefits for different stakeholders including-
Producers, artists and craftsmen connected to craft products :
Potential collectors & buyers of such products:
Products that carry the GI tag :
Art, craft, fashion & design community :
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has defined a Geographical Indication (GI) as a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin in that defined geographical locality, region, or country. To function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in its given geographic location. Geographical indications have traditionally been considered under IP. Article 1(2) of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of 1883 (Paris Convention) refers to ‘indications of source’ and ‘appellations of origin’ as objects of industrial property. Paragraph (3) of the same article specifies that the term ‘industrial property’ is not limited to ‘industry and commerce’ proper, but applies also to agricultural and extractive industries and to all manufactured or natural products.
Most commonly, a Geographical Indication consists of the name of the place of origin of the good, such as Jamaica Blue Mountain or Darjeeling. But non-geographical names, such as Vinho Verde, Cava, or Argan Oil, or symbols commonly associated with a place, can also be included. Essentially, whether a sign functions as a geographical indication is a matter of national law and consumer perception. Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a link between the product and its original location. A single criterion attributable to geographical origin is sufficient, be it the quality or characteristic of the product, or only its reputation.
Products that are Geographically Identified (GI) receive a certification from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India after the due process is completed. As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), India enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999, which came into force with effect on 15th September 2003. Up to January 2021, 370 GI products of the country have been registered with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The first product to be accorded with the GI tag in India was Darjeeling tea in the year 2004-05.
With a strong focus on innovation in crafts, ABCD aims at supporting artisans with sustainable partnerships and market linkages. To achieve the broader vision of facilitating ‘Aatmanirbhar’ community of craftsmen, ABCD is focusing on following objectives: drive innovation within areas of crafts such as materials, techniques and product diversification etc.; connect artisans with new markets through design and business augmentation; introduce processes and technologies ensuring higher value-realization in crafts.
ABCD is open to explore long- term strategic partnerships with organisations on areas such as:
Connect with us to further this initiative for the advancement of artisan communities and promotion of Indian Handicraft and Handloom.