The not-for-profit and artisan-owned Society DWARAKA PLUS (Development of Weavers and Rural Artisans in Kalamkari Art) was founded in 1998 by Anita Reddy along with her father Dwaraknath Reddy. Their goals are to revive the dying hand painted art form of kalamkari, build a sustainable platform for the artisan communities, empower women with livelihood programs, and rejuvenating the entire region (Srikalahasti of Andhra Pradesh, South India)
DWARAKA PLUS’s artists are experts in the ancient traditional form of Kalamkari, a medium native to both Iran and India by which fabric is painted entirely by hand. Historically, textiles are covered with patterns from the simple stylized floral motifs and embellished bands or stripes of color to the highly complex, which might include deities or mythological characters and elements. Other popular subjects are birds and other animals on wall hangings, which feature gorgeously hued peacocks surrounded by blooming flowers. This process uses organically derived dyes gathered from leaves and flower petals, among many other indigenous natural resources, to create the deep, complex colors used in Kalamkari. The artists of DWARAKA PLUS are also skilled in tailoring, embroidery, product making which includes handcrafted journals, different styles of bags, accessories, and unique stationary are among their most popular offerings.
Dwaraknath Reddy Ramanarpanam Trust brought together primarily women artists to organize and establish a community-based organization that would become DWARAKA PLUS. Intriguingly, Kalamkari artwork was traditionally done by men, so the opening up of the practice to not only include but also encourage women has been hugely empowering to the communities.