Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Unfolding: New Indian Textiles Exhibition

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the "Unfolding: New Indian Textiles" Exhibition held at the Fremantle Arts Centre and was blown away by the amazing work created by contemporary Indian fashion designers and textile artists.
This exhibition is curated by Maggie Baxter, a West Australian textile artist who has a long connection to the textile works of India, and what a brilliant job she's done in bringing this exhibition to Australia.
I brought my sister along for the day, and it was wonderful to have someone to "oooh" and "aghh" with, and we definitely did a lot of oohing and aghing, because each new item stunned us even more. The black and white leaf design above was one of the first items we saw as we entered the gallery, and I don't think the photograph does it justice.  It's Aari embroidery (silk thread on silk organza created by using a tambour) created by Mayank Masingh Kaul, and is simply beautiful. 
There were a number of canvases like the one above which were incredible.  This one is called "Rabari" by Play Clan, and is a screen print with hand embroidery on cotton canvas.  If you look closely you will see the vast amount of beading stitched onto the canvas.    
Another, is this one above, entitled "Ghat" by Play Clan - again, you need to zoom right in to see the enormous amount of tiny stitching and beading, to truly appreciate the work that has gone into these pieces.
As I'm quite partial to a bit of sparkle, I did love the sequins trapped between layers of fabric on some of the items of clothing.
I spent a lot of time looking at this Neran embroidery created by Chandra Shroff with Jai Bhatt Singh. This is rayon thread on hand woven wool, courtesy of The Shrujan Trust, Kutch.  As a hand embroiderer myself, I know the amount of hours that goes into anything hand stitched, and I couldn't begin to estimate the time it would have taken to stitch this.  
 Each item that I looked at left me amazed.
This woven piece of fabric called "Latitude" by Bai Lou is made of single filature silk warp and weft with spun silk bands and sequins.  The designers were awarded the UNESCO Seal of Excellence for Handcrafts for creating this special technique of weaving sequins into pockets in the cloth. 
The shawl above has been created by Kirit Dave, and is a wonderful example of Ahir embroidery - rayon thread on hand woven wool.   
Unfortunately I didn't photograph the artist or technique for the above piece, but I believe its silk ikat and has been hand stitched over the top with a gold coloured thread.
Here are some more of the wonderful woven sari fabrics, and below is part of a silk Kimono stitched with sujani embroidery
 Some more work by Bai Lou, hand woven linen with missing warp and weft with inlaid sequins.
The scarf pictured below is marbled and bandhini silk by 11.11/eleven eleven.  They have a facebook page with many photos of their incredible work.  Follow the link here:  eleven eleven 

I took loads more photos, as I wanted to remember everything I'd seen and learn more about the artists and technique, but it would be unfair to post them all here.  Instead I would suggest you visit this travelling exhibition whenever you get the chance as it's well worth it, and for those of you in WA you need to be quick as it finishes this Saturday.
I've put as many links as possible through this post, as I feel its well worth expanding and learning about the work that these artists are creating, its fascinating and very inspiring.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.