Early last year, Devi Art Foundation in collaboration with National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum in New Delhi hosted - A Search in Five Directions. Curated by Rakesh Thakore, Rta Kapur Chishti and Rahul Jain, the exhibit carried forward the legacy of the Vishwakarma series, then curated by the late Martand Singh.
The Vishwakarma series was the culmination of pioneering state-led interventions to highlight the pre and post-independence skills of Indian craftsmen while forging the path for future revival and development. 7 exhibitions over 10 years, from 1981 to 1991, were showcased in major Indian cities and internationally as part of the Festival of India.
With quotes by Mapu – as Singh was widely known and the visual aura of traditional textile techniques, pigment painting, dye painting, resist dyeing and printing produced by artisans across the length and breadth of the country, the exhibit was nothing short of extraordinary. While captures don’t do justice to the craftsmanship and artistry involved in the make, here are some excerpts by the Tilfi Team.
Kodalikarrupur Sari. Cotton with zari. Jamdani weaving technique with block printing. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Created by B.Kanniah and P. Sivaraman. Showcased at 1981 Master Weavers and 1986 Ksetra – Exploring New ‘Fields’.
Nagabandha Ikat Sari. Cotton with yarn resist technique. Orissa. Created by Weavers Service Centre, Orissa. Showcased at 1981 Master Weavers.
Morkuti Pichhavai. Pigment Painting on Cotton. Rajasthan. Created by Dwarka Nath, Nathdwara. 1986
Gyasar Brocade. Silk with gold zari, woven in lampas weave. Uttar Pradesh. Created by Kasim Arts. Peeli Kothi, Varanasi. 1981
Dye Painted Crinkled Chanderi Panel. Silk and cotton with zari. Jamdani weaving technique and dye-painted. Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Created by Gopilal & sons, Chanderi. 1986
Charbagh Chanderi Panel. Silk with gold zari woven in Karhwan technique. Madhya Pradesh. Created by Weavers Service Centre, Indore. 1981
Pomegranate Double Ikat Panel. Cotton with Yarn-resist technique. Andhra Pradesh. Created by G.Govardhan. Weavers Service Centre, Hyderabad. 1981
Sanganer Print Directory. Block-printing with Kharri Gold Print on silk dupion. Rajasthan. Created by Radha Mohan, J.K.Arts, Sanganer. 1986
Bagru Print Directory. Block printing on cotton. Rajasthan. Created by Ramgulam Jugalkishore, Bagru. 1981
Metallic Gyasar fabric. Silk with zari. Created by Kasim Silk Emporium. Peeli Kothi, Varanasi. 1985
Right - Tree of Life II - Silk Kalamkari and Block Painting using 1500 blocks. Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Created by Weavers Service Centre, Hyderabad and Mumbai. 1981
Left - Tree of Life I - Kalamkari Chintz painting on cotton. Andhra Pradesh. Created by M. Kailasam, R. Sundarajan, J.K. Reddiya. Weavers Service Centre, Hyderabad. 1981
All images are part of the collection of the National Museum of Handlooms and Handicrafts.
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