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Art and Design to Raise Funds for Literacy in London
Painted Letters. © KAARU for Pratham UK.

LONDON.- PRATHAM is one of the world’s leading and most respected non-profit organisations. It is known for its enduring literacy movement in India and for achieving annual donations of more than 2 million pounds to help provide quality education to underprivileged children. With six international offices chaired by the movers and shakers of India's financial world and several awards including the CNN IBN Indian of the Year in 2009, the charity has changed the lives of 34 million children in 22 of India’s 28 states.

PRATHAM UK, the charity's London headquarters, is proud to announce the launch of ARTiculate, a new fundraising platform with the sole mission of transforming the lives and learning conditions of a further 11 million children by the beginning of 2011. More than six hundred guests will congregate from all parts of the globe at the Old Billingsgate on 11 September 2010 to celebrate the launch of this new venture and support the charity’s unwavering efforts in India.

For the inaugural event, PRATHAM UK has commissioned Indian design consultancy KAARU to conceive and produce the largest hand-cut paper chandelier ever made. The first of its kind, “The Light” is the result of more than 8,000 children from 15 different Indian states and several hundred Indian artisans, coming together to produce a colossal 28,000 square foot chandelier. Over 15,000 pieces of paper have been drawn on by children, then hand-cut by master artisans of the Saanjhi craft (the traditional Indian art of paper cutting) to transform them into individual paper screens. The screens are assembled in the form of a hanging inverted pyramid, to be suspended from the ceiling and lit from within, creating a monumental glowing centrepiece for the event. PRATHAM UK will auction 5 to 10 limited edition mini versions of the piece at ARTiculate.

To accompany the chandelier, KAARU will also present a series of hand painted Bamboo stems and Painted Alphabets using different traditional Indian handicrafts and methods. The 72 letters and symbols of the Painted Alphabets signify the two major written and spoken languages in India: Hindi and English. The paintings on their surfaces are a reminder of a method of communication and storytelling still prevalent in many parts of the world today. Each of the 200 handpicked 18 foot long Bamboo stems have been hand-flamed to create surface patterns and a cloudy black background, before being embellished by traditional masters in the traditional Indian painting style of either the ‘Gond’ tribe from in Central India or the Palm Leaf painters from Eastern India.

Each year, with the support of PRATHAM UK’s Art Advisory Committee and the curatorial expertise of leading independent design and art curators, PRATHAM UK will commission artists to create amazing pieces around the theme of literacy, which will then be produced in limited-editions and available for future orders through Pratham UK. ARTiculate will be the ultimate annual event supporting literacy in India and the first non-profit initiative to offer such an extraordinary and unique panorama of India's traditional artistic practices in the UK.

PRATHAM UK | London | ARTiculate | KAARU |

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