Mukhtar is a forty-year old craftsman who is part of a multi-craft cluster in Kashmir. He works with artisans practicing paper mache, pashmina shawl weaving, needle work, aari embroidery, wood carving, chain stitching.
In 1996 when there were a lot of political problems in Kashmir, it posed a massive challenge for Kashmiri artisans to sell their work. He shifted to Chennai to build a platform for artisans back home who lacked the network. On his quest for opportunities, he also participated in exhibitions and eventually opened a store in the city.
Pashmina shawls are his family craft and he is a master weaver.
Currently due to the imposition of Article 370, the handicraft industry in Kashmir is crippled. Especially since there are no tourists. Without demand for crafts, artists are resorting to work as labourers or starting other small businesses. Mukhtar says,” I want to help them and help protect Kashmir’s lovely handicrafts. They are an important part of our culture and traditions”.