Traditional craft gets contemporary sheen

New Look

A fusion of Indian handicrafts and contemporary designs – defines ‘Made in India: Samskara’ exhibition at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) Janpath.

The exhibition, one-of-its kind, is showcasing the unique work of 23 selected designers who are trying to conserve the skills that have been handed down from
generation to generation by adapting and reinvigorating the same for the
contemporary world.

From furniture to tableware, textiles and jewels, the exhibition reveals a re-interpretation of traditional craft skills by contemporary Indian designers and craftsmen.

Designer Rahul Mishra displayed resham thread jacket in hand-embroidered silk, lotus geometry dress in silk organza and a colourful bandhini scarf in mulberry silk fabric.
Ashish N Soni, another well-known designer, presented his collection of
dresses with crushed pearl embroidery and safety pin embroidery as well as cushion covers embedded with small pearls. Designers Abraham and Thakore displayed their collection of double Ikat silk sarees, kalamkari on nightie and calligraphy
on dress.

Gaurav Gupta, on the other hand, presented a collection of sculptures – all in charcoal black. The sofa made from wood, polysuede velvet foam and metallic embroidery was designed in a manner to enhance its charred look at one end. A gown sculpture just beside it made from black polystretch fabric and glass nylon is like an added attraction piece.

Panel installation made from Sheesham wood by Samant Chauhan, cashmere saree by Tanira Seth, designer table lamps, panchdhatu jugs, glasses and metal bowls are also on display.

What is more interesting is the ‘setting’ which is not just a backdrop but forms an integral part of the exhibition. Architect Anupama Kundoo brings symbolic elements of nature and the outdoors into the interior of the 600 square metres gallery space. The grey, speckled white granite, indigenous to South India,
is the main material for
the installation.

“The slabs have been hand-levelled, rather than machine polished,” says Anupama. “The hand craft skill of working the granite thus dates back to examples such as the white marble used in Taj Mahal, the granite in the South Indian temples and the red sandstone in Fatehpur Sikri.”

Anupama has also created a water basin having hand crafted slabs in natural, off white and turquoise blue colours. “Water is used in the Indian architecture to represent the life force,” she explains. Inside the basin there’s a bronze collection of side tables, a bed over which hangs a Pooklam chandelier in shinning metal, designed by Sahil and Sarthak and on one side hangs beautifully designed celestial eclipse mirror.

Also, rows of classic

aluminium lampshades are suspended from the ceiling “to give the illusion of a surface of light to undulate and help shape the volume of the space. The overall concept is one of continuity with walls, pillars, floors and ceiling,” says Anupama.

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