Royal textile heritage reinterpreted in upcoming digital exhibition

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By Siddhi Jain
New Delhi, (IANSlife)
A series of installations and traditional textiles, presented by Karkhana Chronicles-II in collaboration with the royal families of Indore, Kathiwada, Bhavnagar and Mysore, will be launched on Saturday. Opening a conversation around India’s textile heritage, the project draws its inspiration from the artisanal workshop or ‘karkhana’ — a timeless site of creativity and innovation that distinguishes India’s rich textile heritage.
Supported by The ReFashion Hub — a sustainability-focused initiative with a special emphasis on water stewardship — and the royal families mentioned above, the exhibition will launch virtually exhibiting heritage textiles.
The project builds on Karkhana Chronicles-1 which launched in late 2020 showcasing three installations in collaboration with Maharani Priyadarshini Raje Scindia of Gwalior, Maharawal Chaitanya Raj Singh of Jaisalmer and Akshita Bhanj Deo of Mayurbhanj.
Among the four installations for the second edition, is a reinterpretation of the HH Maharani Sanyogitaraje Holkar’s resplendent yellow Maheshwari saree which will be paired with a ‘Nazneen’ Varanasi silk brocade blouse by Sanjay Garg that features all-over ‘jaal’ of floral motifs. Alongside this, Sanjay Garg will also present a cape, inspired by the Maharaja’s tuxedo and woven by WomenWeave.
Weaving Drapes, an installation supported by the Bhavnagar royal family, brings women weavers and beadmakers of Bhavnagar city, with brass and copper karigars of Sihor to create a vision that shows the range and versatility of traditional skills. Placed on a delicate silk textile the installation presents a fine embroidery Chaniyo produced in the ‘bharat kaam’ technique; a traditional choli or khadi blouse; a bandhani cotton saree draped in the local kathiyawadi style and adorned with bead work jewellery, a famous craft of Bhavnagar.
Conceptualised by HH Yaduveer Wadiyar and his sister, Jayathmika Lakshmi, an installation from Mysore will incorporate silks and Khadi, in a sculptural piece of a styled sari and jacket. The beauty and symbolism of Mysore’s textile heritage and sustainability will be highlighted by a third component — the Navalgund Dhurrie, a style of weaving that dates back to the Vijaynagar empire and is woven exclusively by women.
The Kathiwada family installation brings together indigenous communities and highlights their traditional craft practices through various indigenous weaves, prints and jewellery crafts. The legacy of Kathiwada will be demonstrated through the languishing craft of Kasota weaves, adapting it to make contemporary wearable pieces. Showcasing the versatility of bamboo, the installation will adorn a bamboo jacket stitched by the native communities. Sustained by the Khatri community at Bagh, the craft of hand-block fabrics, made with natural vegetable dyes, will also accompany the look, adorned with intricate bead jewellery
According to Akshita Bhanj Deo, the Creative Director of Karkhana Chronicles, “Karkhana Chronicles-II seeks to highlight heritage textile art that is not limited to its positive impact on the environment but also the exceptional quality and exclusivity in design that comes along with these textiles. Concepts such as circularity that have come into contemporary discourse on sustainability are actually ideas that have organically existed within our traditional production systems for centuries. Through this exhibition we invite discerning audiences of makers and consumers to engage with this rich legacy of craftsmanship and explore the potential within these traditional knowledge systems to create sustainable futures.”

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