DHOKRA - Mudra Foundation

The ancient art form, Dhokra, is now on the edge of its tradition. This brass art technique is passed by generation to generation, keeping the design and manufacture process the same for ages, but its style is vulnerable to the change of customs and demand. Especially in the era of modern technology and culture, the appreciation to the old style figures is not existing in people’s mind. Conjunction of the market factor, social circumstances and financial status, the artisans are struggling to survive with the art work. The future of Dhokra tradition is obscure at this moment.

In the old days, Dhokra was producing the figure of animal and religious images, which people worshiped to get rid of misfortune and sorrow. If there was a rhino ruining the village’s farmland for example, people worshiped a rhino figured Dhokra work to avoid the misfortune and distraction caused by the animal. Now, with the advanced technology and the fade of the superstition faith in people’s mind, the demand for the animal figure and primitive gods is shifted to the demand for the exotic ornament.

These days, even the demand for those ornaments is going away. The Dhokra works are changing its forms into exotic jewelries, room decorations, and tourist souvenirs. The traditional designs and technique are disappearing according to the market demand change. Even the awareness and knowledge on the meaning of particular traditional designs and figures are also disappearing. The artisans are struggling in the poverty.

The future of Dhokra is not clear. It is only in our hand.


2017 in Badabarasingh , Barakhama, Gatiguda, Jhigidi

With Lost into Art, the Mudra Foundation team of photographers, videographers, artists and writers, has endeavoured to showcase the creative skills and ingenuity of the artisans of these villages, with the aim to invite opportunities for appreciation, collaboration and innovation. Along the way, our team has had an invaluable learning experience of this exotic craft, both its making procedure and the emotions of the artisans involved.


2017 in Badabarasingh , Barakhama, Gatiguda, Jhigidi

Lost into Art:Dhokra is a visual tour of one portion of Odisha’s artistic heritage: the metal casting craft of Dhokra. We start with the historical roots of Dhokra, and then explore the current state of the art by journeying to the picturesque Dhokra-making villages of Badabarasingh, Barakhama, Gatiguda and Jhigidi. We conclude with a look towards the future and how this ancient art form can navigate being at the crossroads of tradition and modernity. Mudra foundation is grateful to these artisans who allowed our team passage into the creative world of Odisha’s Dhokra villages. Through this exploration of their art and their way of life, we hope to shed light on the unique beauty of their craft and the opportunities that exist for its revival.


Lost into Art:Dhokra exhibited in the shops of Zurich, Switzerland, through Realtime Trust.

A talk session by Masako Ono at ISETAN, Shinjuku on dance, art, and culture of India through the Lost into Art:Dhokra books and video presentation during the Dhokra art exhibition.