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Keeping up with five generations |

Keeping up with five generations

KOCHI: The Kollamparambil family tree traces back to Mookambi Amma’s generation when they settled in Kochi before the turn of the 20th century.They brought with them a culture and tradition of arts and crafts that they have nurtured for five generations. Their handicrafts and art works are on display at the ongoing exhibition at the Durbar Hall Art Gallery. While the late Mookambi Amma spent most of her time working on water colours, the generation of women after her would indulge in crocheting, cushion works, glass painting, paper crafts, batik and pencil drawings.
Mookambi Amma’s painting, ‘God is Love’, which was created in 1912 is the oldest exhibit on display. Ambika Panicker, 71, belongs to the third generation, who has vividly followed up on her grandmother’s passion.

She is also the founder of ‘Parishram’, a kitchen accessories and handmade crafts unit. During her free time, she makes paper bags, refrigerator covers, and pot stands. She also teaches the younger generation on how to make them. Her half cross stitch embroidery of the Rajagopuram of the famous Sri Rangamatha Swamy Temple Gopuram, was made as part of the Trichy Innovative Ladies United Needlework Association (TILUNA) project. This was started by a group of women to help the differently endowed children with behavioural problems.

This work was mentioned in the Limca Book of Records (2007) and the Indian Book of Records (2012) as the longest half cross embroidery. Ambika believes in encouraging the younger generation to follow their dreams. “My family was very supportive of my craft. I realised that my daughters and grand daughters all have an inclination towards art. All of them live abroad or outside Kerala and whenever they would come and stay with me for the vacations, I used to encourage them to do craftwork. They have a lot of opportunities today, unlike in the past,” she said.

Her daughter Mini’s work, cousin Latha Nair’s oil creation, focusing on the rustic flavour of the Kerala backwaters, and granddaughter Anisha Pillai’s water colour have also been exhibited. The youngest to showcase her work is Akshaya Krishnan, Ambika’s grand-daughter. She is in Class 10 in Mumbai, and has specialised in pencil sketches. “One of her favourite works are those of the Bond characters,” says Akshaya’s mother.

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