After a long haitus, I’m back talking about a brilliant show currently being exhibited – PAPIER at Gallery Art Positive featuring nine outstanding artists from the Indian Subcontinent. Aisha A Hussain, Chetnaa, Ganesh Selvaraj, Gopika Chowfla, Jignesh Panchal, Sachin Tekade, Sachin George Sebastian, Sudipta Das and Shormii Chowdhury magically exalt one’s mind with just paper.
Invented by the Chinese in the 4th century this became a popular medium for crafts during celebrations in different cultures e.g. papel picado banners in Mexico, kirigami in Japan, papercut silhouettes in England during the Middle Ages and how can we forget the kite or lantern flying in Asia and South America. Infact, till just a decade or two ago there were many who’d indulge in hobbies such as scrapbooking, cardmaking, paper flowers, decoupage, paper mache, quilling, paper making, bookbinding, and paper layering. So as an offset to technology (seen even in art) I decided to interact with Sachin Tekade, a Pune based paper artist who chooses only pristine white paper to depict architectural and natural forms.
“We were sensitized in NID before going out to do projects with the craft clusters. As a student one had to stay in their environment to understand their rudimentary means. It was basically about learning their skillset while humbly playing the role of an intermediary, not god or master” quips the Hyderabad based artist – Shaila Nambiar. Having done Fine Arts from MSU Baroda in 1996, she later also got a degree in Textile Designing from NID, in 2003.
I remember visiting quite a while ago a small store in New Delhi’s tony Khan Market, on the first floor. Along with its amazing line of home furnishings which revived old school Indian needlework with global inspirations (i.e. French, Moroccan, Portuguese) were the wooden plank shelves which caught my fancy. On inquiring one came to know of the painstaking efforts taken to procure tracks from Indian Railway auctions for their wood which is ideal for furniture, weathered well and very sturdy.
Getting festive ready I chanced upon Poludas Nagendra Satish’s Sutra Durrie. This led me to understand how earlier one could differentiate through designs of one village or weaver from the other. The cottage industry of durrie weaving in Warangal, Telengana can be recognized with its geometrical and angular designs in weft interlocking technique (both sides look the same). Here a large population consisted of skilled weavers and dyers. But the unofficial figures stated otherwise, that almost 50% of Padmasali community have left their ancestral vocation as the craft is too laborious, and provides little sustenance or dignity.
I had the opportunity to view Rooshad Shroff’s solo debut show – 15,556 Man Hours represented by Pundole Gallery earlier this year during the India Design Fair 2017 at Bikaner House, New Delhi. These were 26 pieces of furniture such as chairs, tables, benches, screens, daybed, and lighting in three distinct techniques – colour sanding, zardozi embroidery using french knots and monolithic marble hollowed and carved out. Being a big fan of handmade and crafts of India it was a sea change from other designed products, driving home his point of ‘authorship’.
Recently at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Textile India 2017 shed light on ‘Make in India’ initiative. So, without digressing much, I’d like to highlight ‘Made by an Indian’ who chooses to use these very same rich woven fabrics on foreign soil.
A young man striking a pose while enjoying music on the transistor by his buffalo, another one running after the birds in the fields, three young damsels making mayhem while sitting on a buffalo, buffaloes gloriously resting under a canopy glued to some blaring noise and many more colourful paintings recreate his rural imagery that gave me goosebumps; increasing my yearning to go back and relive a small town life.
Having missed the talk on ‘Exploring the Technology of Chintz : From buffalo milk to sheep dung and all the magic in between’ organized by Craft Revival Trust I couldn’t afford losing more time so I went directly to Art Motif Gallery, to witness Renuka Reddy’s chintz magic, first hand.