The hand is the visible part of the brain.
— Immanuel Kant
Kant believed that our understanding of the world is not purely a product of our intellect, but is also influenced by the way we interact with our environment through our bodies. The hand, in particular, is a crucial part of this relationship between body and mind. Our hands are the primary tools we use to manipulate objects and engage with the world around us and absord it through our sense of touch. The hand can be seen as a visible expression of our mind; it represents the inseparable connection between our inner and outer worlds.
All of life's greatest pleasures — art, music, literature, dance and sex come from our need to expressand connect. And hands are the conduit through which that expression is made manifest. Capturing the the hands of craftsmen and artists from across India, Delhi-based textile designer Somya Lochan depicts hands as the symbol of the creative spirit, heritage and community in her latest photo series 'Hands of Artists'.
The photo series showcases the hands of artists that practice and preserve some of India's most precious, dying crafts from Kullu shawls in Sojha, Himachal Pradesh carpet weaving in Gwalior, Dhokra art in Bankura of West Bengal and Batik printing in Mundra, indigo dyeing in Bhujodi and Bela printing in Kukma of Gujarat. Also featured are the hands of artists from Khamir Crafts, a non-profit organization that sustains a multitude of crafts enriching Kachh's cultural ecology like Kharad weaving, Mashru weaving, Rogan painting, leather art, embroidery, Bandhani, wood carving and more.
Somya highlights the common thread in all of these crafts - the hands. Using their hands instead of faces as the identities of these artists, the series pulls our attention to years of mastery, generations of techniques and cultural and personal history the hands of these artists hold through memory. The love and care that goes into weaving hand-crafted textiles lie at the mercy of these hands that create the magic.