The Contradictions Of Handicraft
From spiritual sightseeing to ethnic ersatz:
Sanjeez moved us on to the grandly titled “Directorate of Handicraft & Handloom”,
an institute dedicated to preserving local crafts.
We passed through quiet and spacious classrooms,
where students sat at their work in almost total silence.
There was no sign of any teachers.
And like our visit to the Tibetan monastery, this experience felt rather unreal.
We had been charged a small admission fee and I began to wonder if the institute’s main purpose was to be included on the itinerary of every tourist who passed through Gangtok.
The students seemed almost like mime performers,
trapped in their cultural tableau vivant.
Pictures taken at the Directorate of Handicraft and Handloom, Gangtok.