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July 3, 2024

Vikram Goyal’s ‘Silken Passage’ lends brilliance to the craft of brass repoussé

He gives full credit to his entire team for making this possible. Goyal recalls hiring four master craftspeople initially who were encouraged to explore different motifs and forms, including deities and nature; “We figured out who was good with what. It wasn’t that all were good with everything. They each had their strengths. Over time, we brought in more new people, and our masters trained them.” He goes on to add that reviving ancient crafts takes time, and is a long, difficult process given that the next generation doesn’t want to pursue this kind of work. Yet if anyone can elevate craft into an art form—which it undeniably is—and instil pride in the making of such craft, it is Goyal.

The “radiate” screen is a prime example of the Studio’s Brutalist work involving the welding, by hand, of multiple metal parts.

Image may contain Plant Tree and Aluminium
Image may contain Mineral Crystal Quartz Accessories Diamond Gemstone Jewelry and Gold

By building and fostering the karkhana model where hundreds of people work in tandem in a well-oiled supply chain, including researchers, designers, engineers, metal workers, architects and artists, collaborating to create things of beauty, he is building that sense of pride and joy in those that bring such objects to life. Nowadays, he also turns to vocational and technical schools to recruit people looking for work. He points out that his focus on the decorative arts is “not just a question of beauty, it’s also about sustainability and sustenance for a whole community”. “I’m most proud of the fact that we’ve been able to completely alter the respect for a craft that was dying and give it new life both at home and internationally,” he says. “We’ve changed the language, moving away from Mughal flowers, for example, to explore all kinds of objects from the most recent ‘Silken Passage’ at this year’s India Art Fair to deities to trees of life.”

Collective design is going to be the next new wave, with Vikram Goyal being instrumental in making it—his repoussé pieces, for example, have multiplied in value since he began producing them. The innovation his atelier has forged is a testimony to the wizardry of India’s designers and craftspeople—a testimony to the outstanding quality and excellence that “Made in India” can achieve.

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