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If you travel around the Northeast talking to artisans especially in cane and bamboo handicrafts, one name frequently pops up – Haobam Sukumar. Haobam Sukumar from Manipur carries great respect for his contributions and support to the Northeast artisan community. He has a Professional Education Program in Industrial (Product) Design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and has gained wide-scale experience and exposure to artisans and products from various countries. He has travelled far and wide and has great connect with people across India, Thailand, Indonesia, China and South America. From the experience of being involved in a number of projects, both national and international, he has been able to train and mentor hundreds of artisans across Northeast India. His projects could be creating new products or improving existing ones, but what is significant is the application of technology and modern industrial design concepts in the selection of materials and manufacturing processes to improve the design and usability of an item, and yet retaining the original traditional look and feel.
Ecofriendly, sustainability, environmental friendly and so on, are adjectives which are natural traits in “traditional” handicraft products from Northeast India. However, in recent times due to external influences compounded by a lack of awareness, a lot of our products are losing these traits. But thanks to enterprising individuals like Haobam Sukumar, the skilled artisans from the region are once again creating products which are ecofriendly and yet with a contemporary design touch, making the products user friendly and marketable. It is this catalysis that can help propel the beautiful products from Northeast India to the mainstream Indian market and beyond.
Haobam Sukumar has helped the GISKAA founders all along the way, right from inception of the GISKAA business concept to lending us his experience and leveraging his excellent connect with Northeast artisans. We are proud to feature him in our Experts Panel.