In collaboration with the Union Ministry of Tourism and 20 cultural organisations in the country, Google Arts and Culture now features an array of Indian handicrafts – from Karnataka’s Channapatna toys to Bell Metal Craft from Payyanur in Kerala to the Cherial masks of Telangana and more.
The app not just allows you to explore the stories of the artisans who make these arts and crafts, but also has some mesmerising videos and immersive experiences of how these handicrafts are made.
You can explore these aspects in many ways – for example, it allows you to spot the art or craft on the Indian map, or learn about them through “guess the craft”, or even by type: made to decorate, made to wear and made to entertain.
All this and a lot more is encompassed in over 280 online exhibitions, and over 11,000 photos and videos featuring art and handicrafts from across Indian states. There is even a section on how some things are made out of waste – such as paper that is made from animal dung in places like Jaipur and Assam.
However, one thing that seems to be missing from these narratives is the stories of exploitation, poverty and lack of government help for many of these artisans, which have been reported in the media several times.
The organisations that collaborated with Google for this venture are Incredible India, Museum of Art & Photography, Salar Jung Museum, Academy of Fine Arts and Literature, Avani Society, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay, among others.
According to its description, Google Arts and Culture has collaborated with over 1,200 museums, galleries and institutions in 70 countries to make these available for exploration online.