Animal husbandry has long been a part of Kannadigas way of life.
So when a new crop of wallpaper came up on the market, people started asking what it is made of and when it was finished.
“We used to use the old wallpaper made by the farmers for decorating walls but the new wallpaper made of bamboo has the quality of the old one,” says P.G. Parampalli, the owner of a workshop in Kollam.
“People ask us how it’s made and we answer that it’s bamboo.
They ask me to tell them the name of the manufacturer and we say that it is Kodava.
People who are old and have been in the trade for a long time still buy the old wallpaper.
They have to pay more.
So we sell the bamboo wallpapers at the workshop.”
Kodava wallpapers are made with the bamboo, a hardwood, and some of its fibres are added.
The fibres make the walls strong and durable.
Kokakadu is one of the biggest markets in the country for the bamboo.
KODAVA: Bamboo Wallpaper from Kodava, Kollams main market source News18 “Kodavas bamboo wallpaper has a smooth surface.
Its a beautiful wallpaper to be admired, so we have started to sell it,” says Parampilli.
“The bamboo is made by Kodava in Bangalore, which is close to Chennai.
We sell it at the shop here, where they give a price of Rs 15,000 for the wallpaper.”
The wallpapers used for Kannadas homes are made by a variety of companies, from Kodavas traditional craftsmen to the big brands like Home Depot.
The walls are sold for Rs 15 to 25 lakhs depending on the quality.
They are then made by various companies to be installed in Kunnaks home.
“They come here to install the wall in their home, then they leave and come back.
They make the wall, paint the walls and make the tiles,” says Kodavasi, who is also the president of Kodava Board of Trustees.
“They buy the bamboo for Rs 1,000, which costs them about Rs 10,000.
So they pay a lot for the quality.”
The wallpaper is then hung from the ceiling and painted, which can be done with paints, a laser, or with a chemical called acetic acid.
Parampalli also says the bamboo has some nutritional benefits.
“We use it to add vitamins and minerals in the walls.
The bamboo wall makes the wall a little softer.
We also use it for cooking and cleaning.
The walls are very light and absorb the sun,” he says.
There are some kudus (traditional Kunnak houses) that are built with bamboo wall, but these are not as sturdy as the Kodavatis.
DANIEL CHANG, an artist, who lives in the Kodava town of Kunnaka and is a Kannayan-trained artist, is also a regular patron of the shop.
“This shop is a great place for me to buy my art.
It’s an art market and we sell art for the town, not for the houses,” says Daniel Chang, who started his career in the traditional arts.
Cultural significanceThe walls and walls of Kollamas traditional artisans are a source of inspiration for the people of Kodavali.
They decorate homes and gardens to attract the attention of their neighbours and to show off their art and culture.
The Kodavasis traditional art is still a vital part of the lives of Kondas people, says Kannama Maharaj, who works in Kottayam’s traditional arts department.
“It’s an important part of our culture.
We do not have any other art in the town,” she says.
“It has become such a big business in the last few years.
The traditional art community here has been very active in promoting Kodavathi art.”
“The Kodavati art has a cultural importance.
We have painted a mural on the wall here in Kondaluru.
We are using this mural as a backdrop for our work.
People in the community also go to this art market, buy art, and hang it in their homes,” says Chiang, who has also worked in the same Kodavatras traditional art department.
This is the same mural that was painted in the Kannamaluru city’s Kottamaluram.
Paraplalli says he sells the wallpapers for about Rs 1 lakhs to the people.
“If you want to get a lot of wallpapers, then you have to buy them in one go.
We can only offer them for a short period,” he explains.