Rekindling nationalistic feeling

SALT MARCH

Exploring the social activism propounded by the Gandhian philosophy, installation artist Shelly Jyoti has exhibited her artwork on Khadi ‘The Salt March’ at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA).

A floor-to-ceiling installation in khadi with Sanskrit calligraphy; two sculptural installations with yarns and wires; twenty-five contemporary artworks on khadi with Azrakh printing and dyeing techniques are a part of this ongoing exhibition which tries to rekindle the nationalistic feeling once more. 

“I began my journey for the project by reading Mark Kurlansky’s Salt: A World History and then preceded with deeper inquiry into Mahatma Gandhi’s historical Salt March. At the same time, my research in Azrakh printing works on Khadi and quilting on the same became an extended exploration,” says Shelly.

Shelly has been working with the 9th and 10th generation of Azrakh artisans in Bhuj since 2009. “My decisions regarding this particular textile printing and dyeing technique are formed by a sense of responsibility as an artist to preserve these elaborate textile processes by converting the printing technique itself into an artwork,” she says.

Azrakh is one of the oldest types of block printing on textiles, practiced in parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The fabric is dominated by geometrical shapes and uses colours like rich crimson and indigo with black and white highlights.

The design styles referenced in Shelly’s work are Kankharak, Rialgad, Gurdakaleji, Bodyrial, Zimardi, Beediboota, Asopalav, Nipuri, Champakali, Pancho, Keribel and Mijidbel. To enhance this textile art, Shelly has used the traditional needle craft techniques - Sujni and Nakshi kanthas (running stitch) stitches.

One of the installations that captures your attention even as you enter the hall is a 30 metre long khadi cloth with block-printed Sanskrit calligraphy.

“The installation represents the Gandhian thought of developing Khadi across the villages for economic independence. This concept is relevant even today from a nationalistic perspective. Now modern industries and designers have stepped in to take Khadi upwards on a higher scale of acceptability,” explains the young artist.

Similarly there’s another installation of wires with colourful wheels on it. “‘Re-building My Nation 2013’ is constructed with chenille pipe cleaners, fabric and threads as a metaphoric representation of communities living harmoniously,”
she says.

The exhibition is open for all till October 20.

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