Somaiya Kala Vidya

Somaiya Kala Vidya, a division of Somaiya Vidyavihar, based in Anjar, is an institution of education for traditional artisans of Kutch. Founded in 2014, its mission is to preserve and protect traditional arts, and its strengths are a deep understanding of culture and arts, and a focus on the artisan.

Somaiya Kala Vidya offers design and business education for artisans of Kutch using an approach based on existing traditions. Its advisors are Master Artisans and artisan design graduates. Its faculty includes national and international educators. The institution's curricula, schedule, and language of instruction are designed to accommodate the lifestyles of its artisans. The only prerequisite for admission is knowledge of the traditional craft.

From April 2022, the entire administration and management of Somaiya Kala Vidya came under Somaiya Vidyavihar. Somaiya Kala Vidya takes forward the dream of late Dr. Shantilal K. Somaiya, who wanted to start an education initiative in his native Kutch.

Our Story

SKV evolved out of over 20 years of working closely with artisans of Kutch, during which Founder Director Judy Frater defined the issues with which artisans struggle. The premise of Somaiya Kala Vidya is to test a new approach, to offer solutions other than those already offered. In traditional craft, concept and execution were not separated. The artisan was both a designer and producer. The market was intimately known, as the consumer was either of the same community or of a community closely connected to that of the artisan. When local markets were lost to competition with cheaper, mass- produced products, new markets of sophisticated urban buyers who appreciate natural materials and handcraft emerged. However, these distant markets were not well understood by artisans. Thus “design intervention” was introduced, separating design and execution.

Working years with Kutch artisans, in 2003 Founder Director Judy Frater received an Ashoka Fellowship to found Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya, the first design school for artisans. In 2009, she received the Sir Misha Black Medal for Distinguished Service to Design Education. Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya significantly raised the standard of design in craft, and the income and ethics of artisans. After successfully operating KRV for eight years, Frater joined forces with K.J. Somaiya Trust to build the program into an institute. Building on its core design education program Somaiya Kala Vidya then launched the "postgraduate" course Business and Management for Artisans (BMA), outreach programs, and a course in Kutch Textile Traditions. SKV teaches artisans to use design, business, as well as traditional identity effectively for new markets. Approaching education through a vital subject, the institute enables direct access to higher education, raises the capacity of artisans and generates value for traditional arts.

Institutional Goals

To enable artisans to significantly improve their standard of living, socio-cultural and economic status; To strengthen the vitality and viability of crafts in the national and international markets.

To raise the level of education in the craft sector; To provide a successful example of educational reform. The institution intends to achieve these goals by:

1. Building on Tradition Somaiya Kala Vidya works with artisans in establishing and articulating what they already know, and how they traditionally work. In affirming this and building upon it we identify the most effective path to our subsequent goals. SKV has established an approach of respect, sharing, and mutual teaching and learning. As much as possible, education is imparted utilizing traditional methods.

2. Increasing the Value of Craft Somaiya Kala Vidya works to enable artisans to increase their income without necessarily increasing the cost of time and materials. Intrinsic to this goal is understanding what was traditionally created as Art.

Our Logo

SKV's jubilant flying parrot symbolizes the joy of innovation within tradition. It was designed by renowned animator Nina Sabnani, in collaboration with SKV’s Sajnuben Pachan Rabari, Dayalal Kudecha, Judy Frater, and Piyush.

Judy gave the brief to embroiderers: illustrate what we teach at SKV. Sajnuben made a parrot, spunky but still. Nina and her colleague Piyush made the parrot fly! Dayabhai turned the colour wheel until all the colours worked. Nina then added the title, in Optima, a favorite font. But the logo still needed something... Nina placed the mirror from Jivaben's motif above the title. Bingo. The logo was born.

Somaiya Vidyavihar

Somaiya Vidyavihar is an educational complex with 34 institutions catering to diverse fields of education such as Humanities, Engineering, Education, Medicine, Management, Pure Sciences and Mass Communication, with more than 39000+ Students and 3000+ Faculties and staff on a throbbing 50 acre campus!

The Somaiya Vidyavihar Complex was founded in 1959 by the late Shri K. J. Somaiya (1902-1999). Endowed with a sharp business acumen, a balanced perspective and a social bent of mind, Karamshibhai set up the Somaiya Trust in 1953 for furthering his dream of shaping young minds through quality education.