Textual content and Images by Asad Sheikh.
Nakshatra, Fibre cowl, handwoven Indian wool with hand-knotting, abrash dyeing and hand-embroidery. Designed by Ashiesh Shah – Atelier with Jaipur Rugs.
Sutr Santati: Then Now Subsequent, the exhibition that was showcased within the capital, offered the narrative of India by means of its textiles. Every one of many about-100 textiles on view, from numerous areas of the nation, displayed a plaque with an inventory of names. These highlighted not solely the designers, textile artists and revivalists concerned within the creation of every of the works, but in addition, importantly, the artisans concerned — the embroiderers, weavers, dyers and printers.
The exhibition — that concluded in late October — proved that textile craftsmanship within the nation continues to be a vibrant entity. However, the way in which we all know or see it does bend to the need of commerce. Traditionally, grander methods and supplies — than those on show at Sutr Santati — had been usually used to create one-of-a-kind items underneath the artwork of patronage. However in a globalised, and machine-powered market, these methods have grow to be extra streamlined, usually to suit the alternatives of the patrons.
With commerce out of the equation, designers, artists and artisans, who participated within the exhibition, may extra freely discover present-day methods and develop newer kinds of textile manipulation to additional the thought of Indian craftsmanship. And so, the exhibition assortment, most of which was specifically commissioned for the present, didn’t mimic textile samples discovered encased in museums from India’s colonial and pre-colonial eras. It innovated, by introducing new motifs, supplies, and workaround methods to attain an identical diploma of complexity within the last materials, leaving us with new hope for the way forward for textile revivalism.
Excerpts from a dialog with Lavina Baldota, textile revivalist and curator of Sutr Santati….
How do you propose to create consciousness about India’s textiles, particularly among the many youthful technology?
The concept is to take the dialog about textiles past apparel. Usually, we consider textiles as solely associated to one thing we put on. However in our nation, textiles have at all times been an enormous a part of our artwork. They’ve been an enormous a part of our tradition. We costume our gods in textiles, we’ve got Pichwai work…. There has at all times been such a advantageous line between the craft and the artwork. I need to convey again that sensibility and provides it a extra modern context in order that at present’s technology turns into conscious of the methods. And I need to make it interesting to them — in order that they’re excited to place textiles up of their houses, possibly. Consciousness creates appreciation, and appreciation will create aspiration. That’s the entire thought.
High left: Discover the Hidden Knots, Merino wool scarf with embroidery by Rahul and Shikha, created by Muzamil, Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh and Jaipur, Rajasthan; Unity in Variety, hand embroidery by a number of artisans, Kutch, Gujarat.
High proper: Naga Raincoat, Ashiesh Shah — Atelier X Cane Idea.
Backside left: Sarnath, mulberry silk (warp) panels and viscose (weft) with zari. Designed by Asha Madan – Good Earth and created by Haji Kasim Mohammed Ishaque, Benaras, Uttar Pradesh.
Backside proper: Treescape, cotton warp with discarded cotton and silk within the weft. Naturally dyed indigo and madder. Designed by Ashita Singhal and Balbir Singh, New Delhi.
What half does Sutr Santati have in your imaginative and prescient?
Textiles have been such an essential a part of our freedom motion, the Swadeshi motion, and our tradition. So, my first Sutr Santati exhibition was on Mahatma Gandhi, and khadi was an enormous aspect of that. This time as properly, to maintain the identical mandate and take it ahead, we used solely indigenous yarns. You’ll be able to see what number of types of yarns we’ve used on this exhibition, they usually’re all from the area the work was achieved in. For instance, a Gujarati artisan would use Kala cotton, and Kandu cotton could be utilized in Karnataka. There are such a lot of completely different sorts of yarns that individuals are not conscious of — from camel hair and goat hair to several types of wools and wild silks. And utilizing eco-friendly dyes was additionally a vital a part of this exhibition in order that you don’t hurt the surroundings once you create.
Traditionally, patronage performed an essential function within the flourishing of a number of crafts. What has modified at the present time with speedy consumerism and fast-paced manufacturing?
The concept of sluggish consumerism is essential to me as a curator. Select fewer issues, however perceive how they’re made. And moreover, textiles are fairly long-lasting. They’re not in trend or out of trend ever, proper? I imply, they’re a heritage. And in case you lose that craft, you’ll lose the tradition. So you will need to have youthful minds begin enthusiastic about the truth that you don’t want so many issues.
High left: Kodalikaruppur, sari in cotton, zari and pure dyes. Handwoven and hand-block printed. Chennai and Machilipatnam, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
High proper: Patan Srinath Ji, wall panel in silk. Handwoven jamdani designed by Gaurang Shah, Patan, Gujarat.
Backside left: Mughal Flowers, dupatta in handwoven silk and zari, by Naseem Ansari — ASHA workshop, Benaras, Uttar Pradesh.
Backside proper: Hanging by a Thread, advantageous cotton in a number of counts and zari threads, by Lakshmi Madhavan and Arvind Vijayan, Balaramapuram, Kerala.
Textile revival comes with its personal set of challenges. Attempting to seize and recreate the precise type of creating a bygone textile won’t at all times be doable. Have you ever confronted any such challenges?
Sure, completely. The revival of something that has been misplaced is so tough. The Kodalikaruppur sari that was displayed within the exhibition, as an example, is within the technique of revival. It’s been such an extended path to get again that very same crimson color that was initially used. The surroundings has modified, and the water it was washed in has modified. The standard of the zari threads has modified. The motifs on the sari that had been hand-painted have been changed with hand-block printing. We’ve to be aware to not lose the craft. It’s been a really tedious exercise to revive it to its genuine self. So, if we are able to save a craft from languishing, we must always. Moderately than letting go of it fully and having no reference to convey it again.
The current exhibition talked about “then, now, and subsequent”. May you share with us what’s subsequent for you, and your wider endeavours by extension?
I need this exhibition to journey all over the world and my efforts for the time being are fully focused on that. We’re collaborating with the Museums Victoria in Melbourne, and the exhibition is scheduled to be mounted from April to July 2023. I need this to be seen as a result of it’s good to take an area dialog international. I need individuals overseas to grasp our tradition and have interaction with it.