Manish Jalwal, artisan from India
"One day, while at my cousin's place, I saw beautiful paintings on marble plates and it immediately struck me that I could do my painting on marble plates, boxes and vases.""I have been always very fond of tradition and this passion has been my driving force bringing me where I am today. I come from the majestic city of Jaipur and I am proud to be a part of the many artists working to promote internationally the traditional crafts of Rajasthan.
"My rendez-vous with traditional crafts happened when I was very young. My elder brother was already in this trade, as a master carver making beautiful wood sculptures. His work always inspired me but I never really got the chance to try my hands at carving.
"Then one day when I was about 20 years old, I went on a tour around Rajasthan with some friends and saw the majestic architecture in our state. The monuments, havelis (private mansions) and every building in sight was so alluring! I always felt connected to the past. After I returned home, I started painting the beautiful monuments that I saw – not only the monuments but the engravings and paintings on these monuments and all my friends and family really appreciated my work. I thought to myself why not use this passion of mine to earn my bread and butter?
"One day, while at my cousin's place, I saw beautiful paintings on marble plates and it immediately struck me that I could do my painting on marble plates, boxes and vases. This is when I decided that I wanted to work full time as an artist. I started painting on marble plates, sculptures and vases. This was very well appreciated by many people and the journey since then has been a good one.
"Then, this was only half a battle won… how could I market my products? I needed to be able to sell them to support myself. So I started visiting emporiums and handcraft offices and they liked my products, and this is how I started selling them.
"It's been 20 years now and its feels so great to be able to do what I love. My dream is to go globally and promote the beautiful traditional work of Rajasthan through my craft. All my paintings are inspired from the traditional style of painting. It celebrates the festive nature of our state.
"For my work, I use natural makrana marble and use real gold leaf paint. I also use poster colors to add vibrant touch to my piece. And now I have been able to offer jobs to seven artisans who are working with me."