WFY Today

Now Opens the Way for Collaboration in Western India

The residence of Consul General Mike Hankey welcomes visitors with a visible celebration of art and culture in West India. The consulate collaborated with Tisser, a social enterprise that supports rural artisans across India, to integrate native art streams into the welcoming space with a new mural.

Cultural diplomacy promotion is an important aspect of the consulate’s mission. Four of Tisser’s artists—Uma Bansode, Vaibhav Singh Chouhan, Safeena Khan, and Prachiti Patil—worked with three distinct folk-art forms in this collaboration. Warli, a Maharashtra tribal art form, is known for “its collision of monochromatic appearance, authentic natural hues, and geometric figures,” according to the Tisser team.

The inclusion of Gond in the artwork is the next element. Gond is an art form used by the Pardhan Gonds, an indigenous group from Madhya Pradesh. This art form, according to its practitioners, reflects the close relationship between humans and their natural surroundings. These paintings can also be inspired by Indian myths and legends, as well as depict images from the tribe’s daily lives. The iconic namaste’s joined hands on the door use Gond art to represent the consul general’s welcoming and hospitable gesture.

Lippan Kaam (clay/dung work), the final component, is from Kutch, Gujarat, and forms the mural’s outermost layer.

These contemporary artists incorporated traditional and folk-art elements to create a gateway to the consul general’s residence that emphasizes cultural connections while telling stories deeply embedded in the respective folk-art forms that represent India’s entire western region.

“Our spaces send a message about what we value,” Hankey said. “I wanted to create an experience for visitors to my official residence that communicated both welcome and inclusion for the diversity of western Indian societies with which we interact through this consulate.” I specifically chose to work with the women-led Tisser project because it strengthens women’s voices and economic opportunities.”

Saamya Joiya is a public diplomacy intern at the United States Consulate in Mumbai.

More than 107,000 people have applied for the Safe Mobility initiative, and screening and counseling sessions are still taking place. More than 11,800 people have been referred for potential refugee resettlement to the United States, and over 9,000 people have been screened for other legal ways to enter the country. In addition, 281 Costa Ricans have been referred for resettlement in Spain.

“This initiative is a novel way in which countries across the hemisphere are working together to humanely manage migration—meeting migrants where they are and providing a real, tangible alternative to hiring a smuggler,” stated Holly Holzer, Senior US Coordinator for Lawful Migration.

The US continues to enforce immigration laws, pursue human smugglers who prey on and profit from vulnerable migrants, assist refugee and migrant hosting countries and communities, and collaborate with partners to advance safe, orderly, and humane migration management. “Our goal remains to create a safe and expedited process for individuals who meet the requisite criteria for lawful entry into the United States,” said Richard Verma, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources.

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