SLIM Gamata Marketing 2014

Among the diverse crafts nurtured by the reflective tradition of Sri Lanka, Talipot is an age old precious bound with Sri Lankan heritage since ancient times. Originally being used for Ola leaf manuscripts, this adorned craft industry dates even beyond the written history of the country.

It possess fine and delicate craftsmanship, with skills and techniques achieved spending a life time. Unfortunately this priceless inheritance is losing its grace among handicrafts in Sri Lanka.

Gamata Marketing, the project of Sri Lanka Institute of Marekting (SLIM) in association with the Department of Integrated Design, are on a mission to implement a design intervention to uphold the local craftsmanship.

Department of Design of Faculty of Architecture, University of Moratuwa is the pioneer of country’s higher level of design education, while SLIM as the national body of marketers has been promoting marketing excellence and elevating the status of marketing of Sri Lanka.

An initiative taken under SLIM “Gamata Marketing” concept, the aim of this project is to identify and uplift unseen entrepreneurs in rural areas and emphasize the importance of marketing towards enhancing their living standards and upgrading  the local livelihood.

Speaking of this collaboration, SLIM President Kalana Ratnayake said “SMEs play a vital role in our economy. Not only that a significant portion of the GDP comes from SMEs but also majority of the workforce are employed in the SME sector. The objective of ‘Gamata Marketing’ concept is to take the marketing knowledge to grassroots level, thereby help the small and medium size entrepreneurs to enhance the market for their products, achieve sustainable growth and particularly to uplift traditional craft industries that are ebbing away in front of competition. It is for the third .consecutive year that we are partnering with the University of Moratuwa in this initiative and we have found this whole effort to be truly rewarding and we are proud to be a big part of this worthy exercise”.

From the few villages where traditional talipot crafting has been established, Kurunegala, Alawwa and Narammala are significant for their popularity in palm related products while some villages in this area have been inherited the supply of talipot crafts to the King during the era of Dambadeniya Kingdom. Today these villages are organized in a crafting network by the Dambadeniya Export Product Village (DEPV).

Craft community scattered around the Dambadeniya Export Product Village has been engaged in production of talipot packaging for several decades. The DEPV will be the hub to continue the project once when it is implemented by SLIM in association with the University of Moratuwa.

It was found that packaging industry has more potential to make use of the versatility of talipot material and the superior skills of craftsmen. While supporting the ongoing packaging production in craft villages, it is the intension of the project to introduce talipot material with more quality and character along with different innovative packaging designs.

The undergraduates have experimented with this versatile craft material - talipot, in order to bring out its qualities at their best while seeking for novel innovations in crafting and material preparation as well. Major intention of them is to introduce a range of products that goes beyond the monotonous designs, applying problem solving methods in this crafting process, to regain the local and international attraction once possessed by highly appreciated traditional crafts which were enriched by their own fuels of designs, techniques and skills create a complete work of art and allure.

Revolving around the points of social and market, the designs will be introduced considering human behaviors, responding to their individual involvement in culture and society. The project at its ultimate stage will develop to an event- an exquisite Avant-Garde fashion show to reveal a fabulous fusion of Talipot material, astute craftsmanship and innovative design skills and an exhibition of designer packaging; a greener solution for sustainable packaging with the purpose of giving a better exposure to the skilled craftsman to popularize their creative approaches.

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