Published: 04th November 2019
Why you'll love these hand-painted bags crafted by Odissi dancer Shibani Parija
To paint a bag, she might take anything between one hour to two to three days. She does this in addition to her dance and she has sold over 25 bags and over 15 paintings till date
Art is art, whether it's dancing or painting. And if you happen to be both an artist and a dancer, just like Shibani Parija, one will make you better at the other. And if you don't believe us, Shibani's tale should reassure you.
On her feet: Shibani Parija is also a wonderful dancer | (Pic: Shibi Creations)
When your aunt is Odissi exponent Meera Das, sooner or later, you will fall in love with Odissi. Though it happened later for Cuttack-based Shibani, who resides right on top of Das's Gunjan Dance Academy, when it eventually did, she fell irrevocably in love with it. She laughs as she recollects how, "I found the attire and make-up of Odissi extremely attractive which is how I took up Odissi. Initially, I found it to be very tough, but my aunt encouraged me. When I started winning competitions and garnered appreciation, I started to like it more. I felt like it set me apart from others," says the 24-year-old. So much so that she started teaching at the academy too. She briefly had to move to Bhubaneswar to pursue her MBA in Tourism from Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, but now she is back to her hometown, dancing at the academy and pursuing her passion for art.
She wants to introduce hand-painted blouses and saris and other products like serving trays
But wait, when did art enter into the equation? "I have always been fascinated by art and culture. We perform Odissi abroad as well and for one of the tours, we travelled to Fiji in 2016. I collected a few leaves and shells from the place and made art from it. My friends were full of praises for it," laughs Shibani as she shares. And this is just one instance. She started posting her artwork on her Instagram page Shibi Creations last year and before she knew it, she was painting on bags, pouches, lamps and more. "For dance, I have to be physically present, but art I could do anywhere. Art became like meditation to me. I would take to it easily, especially when I am feeling down," she shares.
So in Shibani's world, art and dance go hand in hand and often, borrow from each other too. The mudras and expressions of Odissi often find expression through her paintings and products. Then there are the motifs of a girl attempting to catch a butterfly as seen in a mirror reflection or the various costume and temple structures and more. "Both mediums creatively influence each other," says Shibani, with a smile. Her bags, available in all shapes and sizes like circular sling bags, square cross body bags, messenger bags, pretty pouches and rectangular wallets, are selling like hotcakes, we hear. "So much so that I hardly have spare stock anymore," shares a delighted Shibani. She uses bits of used cloth and with the help of a local tailor, gets the bags stitched and either paints on them or uses embroidery. Artwork depicting elephants, flowers, peacocks, trees and even cameras can be found in abundance on her bags.
Framed leaf: One of Shibani's art | (Pic: Shibi Creations)
Shibani's vision for the future is to start a boutique or an art gallery where, "people can do whatever they want to in terms of art. Also, my products will be displayed along with those products that otherwise don't find a platform," she shares. She is already performing Odissi and soon, she wants to start teaching again. So that her dancing and art can be more in sync than ever.
Some of her products
For more on the collection, check out instagram.com/shibi_creations