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February 12, 2018

In Mapu’s Memory: Discover Indigenous Handlooms In Delhi At This Exhibition

Text by Huzan Tata. Images Courtesy: Roli Books

An exhibition of textiles in the capital, A Search In Five Directions honours the life and work of the late Martand Singh

It’s no secret that our local or indigenous handlooms form a rich part of our historical legacy. And one man, who led the revival of India’s once-static textile traditions, through his Vishwakarma exhibitions through 1980s, was Martand Singh. Between 1981 and ’91, Singh — affectionately known as Mapu — curated seven exhibitions related to the country’s crafts history, championing the cause of lost weaving and dyeing traditions, leading a revival of sorts.

Now, Devi Art Foundation, and the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum in New Delhi, is hosting the exhibition A Search In Five Directions — organised in memory of Mapu, drawing from his Vishwakarma series. Curated by industry stalwarts Rakesh Thakore, Rta Kapur Chishti and Rahul Jain, the showcase includes creations that amply ‘reflect fresh explorations in technique and aesthetics’. This mammoth initiative is sure to help new viewers discover textures, weaves and dyes of India through several interesting and enlightening exhibits.

RTA Kapur Chishti, Co-Curator

On The Significance Of The Show “It’s for audiences who haven’t seen this type of work before. Whatever we had access to, and what was represented in the Vishwakarma shows have been exhibited here. This series represents the finest textiles of their time.”

On The Title “It’s named after the five types of techniques exhibited in the show, namely pigment painting, dye painting, resist dyeing, printing and weaving.”

Message For Viewers “I think it will help them realise that the craftspeople of India can, if given the opportunity and the means, do much finer work than what they achieve in the normal market situation.”

A Search In Five Directions is on display at the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum, New Delhi until March 31. 2018.

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