Mithilasmita: Can Traditional Art Be Preserved Through Intellectual Property Protection Only?
(5 pages of text)
On a visit to her ancestral village in India, an entrepreneur found that maintaining the sanctity of traditional Madhubani paintings was no longer something that artists considered worthwhile. In the name of contemporary art, the traditional style of this world-famous Indian art was being distorted. However, artists were willing to switch back to traditional techniques of creating art as long as their livelihood needs were met. In late 2010, Mithilasmita was set up as a folk art gallery from where artists’ works could be marketed and they could earn decent money. In 2012, the organization registered as a private limited firm. This was a start, but a question remained: How could Mithilasmita capitalize on the pro-artisan initiative of the All India Handicrafts Board and geographical indication rights of Madhubani paintings in building up a sustainable business, preserving traditional art and achieving social objectives?
This case is suitable for a course on public policy (e.g., extent of deregulation, market demand and role of the state), management or social entrepreneurship. The primary focus of the case is on exploring ways to build a social business while keeping traditional cultural techniques intact. Students will learn about:
- The importance of geographical indications/intellectual property rights (especially in traditional arts).
- Social entrepreneurship and social business, as well as challenges for a social entrepreneur.
- The role of stakeholders in regional development.
- Implementation challenges in public policy and the need for appropriate policy intervention.
Arts, Entertainment, Sports and Recreation
India, Small, 2012
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