ShalinIndia News Letter Issue# 1
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ShalinIndia News Letter Issue# 1

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India in Venice Biennale for the first time in 116 years...

India in Venice Biennale for the first time in 116 years

It took 116 years for India to be featured in the Venice Biennale. This year finally, India will have its own national pavilion at the prestigious Biennale to be inaugurated on June 3, 2011, confirms a high-ranking official at the Lalit Kala Akademi.
India will be one of the 94 countries in this world famous art event that saw its inception in 1895.
India will find space at the centre of the venue called “Arsenal Area,” which enjoys the highest number of visitors. The venue was so named as the area was an arsenal shipyard during 15th and 16th centuries and is, therefore, of historical importance. Half of the total area of 50,000 square metres is dedicated to art expositions.
The theme for the different national pavilions this year is “Illuminations.”
For the Indian pavilion, famous art critic Ranjit Hoskote has been appointed the curator. He has selected four artists from different genres and locations with differing perceptions and artistic expressions to participate in this prestigious exposition. These include printmaker and sculptor Zarina Hashmi of Aligarh; a husband-and-wife team from the North East, Mriganka Madhukaillya and Sonal Jain, who are known for working in public spaces; Gigi Scaria, Delhi-based painter and video artist; and Praneet Soi, a mixed media artist who works both in Amsterdam and Kolkata. They are all artists in the age group 30 to 40 years.
The theme of their collective works of contemporary video, sculptures, and other mixed media is titled “Everyone agrees; it's about to explode.” The artists will prepare most of their creations at the venue, almost nothing is going ready made from India. Apart from them, photographer-artist Dayanita Singh has also been invited to participate in the Biennale.

Hindu , April 14, 201

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ShalinIndia News Letter Issue# 1 ShalinIndia News Letter Issue# 1 Document Transcript

    • India in Venice Biennale for the first time in 116 years. Find the tsunami in a tribal painting .In pursuit of living crafts. When art meets craft. The sophisticated weave. Dastkar Mumbai Bazaar 2011. WWW.SHALININDIA.COMInside This IssueVolume 1 | Issue 1Date: [APRIL, 2011]
    1. India in Venice Biennale for the first time in 116 yearsIt took 116 years for India to be featured in the Venice Biennale. This year finally, India will have its own national pavilion at the prestigious Biennale to be inaugurated on June 3, 2011, confirms a high-ranking official at the Lalit Kala Akademi. India will be one of the 94 countries in this world famous art event that saw its inception in 1895. India will find space at the centre of the venue called “Arsenal Area,” which enjoys the highest number of visitors. The venue was so named as the area was an arsenal shipyard during 15th and 16th centuries and is, therefore, of historical importance. Half of the total area of 50,000 square metres is dedicated to art expositions. The theme for the different national pavilions this year is “Illuminations.”For the Indian pavilion, famous art critic Ranjit Hoskote has been appointed the curator. He has selected four artists from different genres and locations with differing perceptions and artistic expressions to participate in this prestigious exposition. These include printmaker and sculptor Zarina Hashmi of Aligarh; a husband-and-wife team from the North East, Mriganka Madhukaillya and Sonal Jain, who are known for working in public spaces; Gigi Scaria, Delhi-based painter and video artist; and Praneet Soi, a mixed media artist who works both in Amsterdam and Kolkata. They are all artists in the age group 30 to 40 years.The theme of their collective works of contemporary video, sculptures, and other mixed media is titled “Everyone agrees; it's about to explode.” The artists will prepare most of their creations at the venue, almost nothing is going ready made from India. Apart from them, photographer-artist Dayanita Singh has also been invited to participate in the Biennale. Hindu , April 14, 201<br />2. Find the tsunami in a tribal paintingWhile most Indians know their Panchatantra (thanks mostly to Amar Chitra Katha), little is known about folktales and artworks from India's tribal regions. And with tribal craftsmen leaving their practice to find lucrative jobs, the arts might be on their way to extinctionSanjhi paper stencilling from MathuraThis is what makes Paramparik Karigar's upcoming exhibition important. The exhibition will display creations of 30 folk artists from 14 different Indian states, all showing in Mumbai for the first time.Look out for Lalita Vokil's intricately embroidered depiction of stories from the life of Krishna in Chamba rumals (gigantic handkerchiefs), an art native to Himachal Pradesh. Anu Chowdhury Sorabjee, a committee member with the Paramparik Karigar organisation, is all praise for the artist. "She combines the skill of a miniature painter with that of a master embroiderer." <br />Kauna mat weave from ManipurSorabjee adds that they will also display Bastar wooden sculptures created by Pandurang Ramdeo. This is an extremely old art form that is rare to come across, since most artists from the region now work with wrought iron and stone.The exhibition sees a strange mix of tradition and modernity. While the Patua painted pots depict traditional themes, some scrolls from Bengal present new stories, like that of Japan's tsunami in the region's traditional style of painting. Some works are path breaking in their own way. For instance, Gond tribals, who traditionally paint on their hut walls are now transferring their art onto canvas, so it can be preserved for posterity.Also on display are the works of Thewa jewellers. While the craft has been passed down over generations, young craftsmen are tough to come by. "We are hopeful that the response to the exhibition will encourage them to continue practising their art," says an optimistic Sorabjee.Anjana Vaswani , MiddayThis is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. 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This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text. This is a dummy text.<br />Ritu Kumar believes that no craft should die due to the lack of innovation. Juanita Kakoty meets the ace designer who wants to customize handlooms.3. In pursuit of living craftsShe studied art history and museology, but became a textile designer instead. With tenderness in her eyes and smile, Ritu Kumar, elegant in a monochrome churidaar-kameez and kantha-stitched dupatta, inside an office displaying exquisite wall hangings of Indian textiles, recalled the journey she undertook more than 40 years ago. “When I first went to the field in Bengal to study textile crafts out of sheer interest, I found a lot of it was not in practice. These were guild crafts — inherited from generation to generation — that were being lost. I got involved in reintroducing a little bit of their history back to the craftsmen. This turned into a lifework; and I soon became a catalyst between the marketplace and the crafts.”It all began from the grassroots, in a small village near Kolkata. Getting somebody to produce the yarn, printing it; and in the end, finding no retailer for the products, opening the country’s first boutique in 1966 in Delhi. In her words, “A little store which sold the stuff produced in villages.” She was in her 20s then and the entrepreneur of a really tiny cottage industry. “India was just post-independence, first generation; and people my own age came to the store to look at what I was doing.” There was no marketing of her products; it was mostly word-of-mouth that made them popular.“When I look back at it, I find a lot of dust, heat and travelling. I don’t know why I continued with it. Maybe I found it emotionally satisfying.” And just as one wonders how would that be so, Ritu Kumar revealed, “I would have been a painter, if I had not got into textiles; and the canvas just got so huge! There was an excitement about reviving highly sophisticated textile crafts, lost in history, and thus, an interest turned into passion”. Her journey has been all about forging a new road where none existed.<br />Ritu Kumar has penned down her experiences in a book — Costumes and Textiles of Royal India (1999) — published by Christies, London. The book is a key reference in academic fashion history. “The idea about writing a book started perhaps when I saw hand-block printing in Jaipur. I searched in vain for museums in India with information or catalogues on it. There was just no documentation of Indian textiles in India!I found them at museums in London and France though, catalogued as trade fabrics. I would get those back and reintroduce them to the craftsmen of the region to show what the old textiles/fabric looked like.”“During all my travels I really found the need for a book of reference about what was there in India. I believe that some sourcing has to be created for the next generation, particularly in a field so rich. Otherwise, the way the rest of the world has lost its textile traditions, India might too.” This is what, Ritu Kumar held, made her write the book.And the subject of the book became the royals of India because, “In all traditional places, the royalty would give patronage to the highest guild of a particular craft; thus eliciting the highest skills. The costumes and textiles of royal India reflect the highest, sophisticated forms ever achieved. I began studying them.” She was quick to admit though that “there are books to be written about the rustic textiles that came from these very regions. But those are another 20 books that someone can write.”Ritu Kumar is the largest designer brand in India today and has been retailing in Europe and India since the 1970s. Her forte has been reviving sophisticated traditional Indian craftsmanship for which she has earned many a laurel, both national and international, including the French knighthood, chevalier des arts et des lettres. She has been an outstanding entrepreneur; and if one notices, every weft and warp has been informed by painstaking research.For example, her recent ‘Falaknuma’ collection took about 45 years of research. It includes a lot of painting and prints besides embroidery that comes from the Kalamkari region in the Deccan. “I want to go back to Machilipatnam,” she declared in-between sips of warm tea, “From where our old textiles were exported all over the world. I find it a very romantic part of our history and extremely rich in imagery. Besides handloom, this is where I want to work on in the future.”Handloom, she said, “Is one area where I have not been able to be a catalyst the way I wanted to. I tried once for six years but did not really do tremendously well. There is still a long way to go.” It is mostly due to the nature of handloom — since it’s made for the unstitched garment like the saree or odhni/dupatta, she explained, that it is difficult to put it into garments or into mainstream.“Also, somebody has to understand handloom to be able to relate to it and wear it,” said Kumar with concern in her voice. “It has to have a mental history. But people live in a fast world today; they want to be mobile, they want to wear clothes that don’t come in the way. With handloom, there is a limitation. We have always done well with khadi, because it is a basic fabric and one can do other things with it. It can be engineered such that there is layering of craft one on top of the other. But with handloom, it’s a little difficult. Yet, this is what I want to do — customise handloom: make it simple and every day.”As we exchanged goodbyes, I hoped in my heart that Ritu Kumar is able to do with handloom what she has done with the other Indian textile crafts. Her words ring in my ears, “No craft should die due to the lack of innovation. Crafts should be living crafts. They shouldn’t belong to museums.” Deccan Herald, April 17, 20114. When art meets craftKhurja pottery, best known for its brilliant hues and ethnic motifs, goes contemporaryKhurja's famous pottery is a beautiful blend of art and craft -- combining the ancient craft that emerges from the potter's wheel with an artist's creativity in painting the surface with a mélange of motifs and hues. Khurja pottery is traditionally made from a mixture of local clay, ground feldspar and quartz stone brought from Gujarat. The wet mixture is placed on a mould or the potter's wheel and the desired shape is produced after which it is sun-dried. It is then hand-painted using a mix of metal and oxidised chemicals before dipping the dried piece in brilliant glazes. The pieces are then put in a kiln and baked up to 1200 -1250 centigrade.The pots remain in the kiln for four to five days. From matkas and simple pots and pans, today Khurja pottery has morphed into brilliant lifestyle statements such as dinner and luncheon sets, contemporary platters, tea sets, coffee and beer mugs, urns and vases. <br />The table work is contemporary in design, yet carries a whisper of tradition with an occasional touch of Arabesque and Islamic motifs, and leafy patterns inspired by Japanese haiku. A recent exhibition by the The Central Cottage Industries Emporium's titled ‘Earthy Touch and Ethnic Wraps' showcased the best of Khurja dinner and table ware, decorative pots, planters and urns. In a burst of orange, mint green, black, ultramarine blue and yellow, each piece had a contemporary look. The shapes too were avant-garde. A perfect setting for the stunning Khurja tableware and vases was provided by the specially created collection of table linen. Vibrant hand block prints, appliqué work and cut work on organza and delicate Kantha embroidered table linen are representative of the best from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.Hindu , March 24, 20115. The sophisticated weaveWith his label Raw Mango, designer Sanjay Garg aims to revive the demand for handloom designs, says Divya Kapoor When he had to give up his ambition of doing a graphic designing course from London, for he couldn’t afford the money, he put in all his creative energy in churning out six yard masterpieces with chanderi. Meet designer Sanjay Garg of label Raw Mango, who started out with a small stall in Dilli Haat at a time when “the place was known for its dastakari and craftsmanship.” He recalls, “It all started two years ago when I was working on a government project and developing chanderi saris. My weavers told me the designs would never be accepted because they were too simple.” But his growing up in a colourfully rich Mubarakpur and experience at NIFT had an inevitable effect on the sari-loving janta which quickly warmed up to his simple and sophisticated designs. “The stock was sold within days. I then took some designs to Jaya Jaitley who suggested I participate in a Mumbai exhibition,” says Garg who has a degree in design from the National Institute<br />Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT). After the Mumbai exhibition, for which he had borrowed Rs 90,000 from his father and for which he got his first recognition in the industry, there was no looking back. His label since then has grown over 200 times in two and a half years. At a time when desi fashionistas were stuck in subtle European palettes, Garg decided to infuse a flash of bright colours into the six yard wonder. “For long, the West controlled fashion trends in India. But people never realised that their days are mostly cloudy and their skin tones are many shades fairer as against India where sun shines bright for most days of the year. All these aspects have an impact on how you look when you wear a certain shade. So the first thing I did was to replace the shades of greys with vibrant hues of rani pink, neon green and bright lemon yellow because that’s what really suits the Indian tone,” he says.The idea, he insists, was not to just revive the handloom industry but to revive the demand for handloom. “The government funds a cluster of weavers to revive the traditional handloom designs but those designs die again because they are complicated and backward and there is no demand for that kind of work anymore. Weavers never benefit from these schemes,” he says. “Until you connect them with the consumers directly, teach them the urban sensibilities, they are never going to profit.” That is why, not only does he plan to stick to chanderi, the designer is also against the whole hype around “the latest trend” philosophy.“When people say spring/summer or winter/autumn, the basic difference in the collections is the kind of materials used. And again, it is the weavers who suffer the losses because after a few months, people are running after velvet and wool. I feel if I don’t give them constant business, there won’t really be any meaning to why I started out,” avers Garg.His sensibilities, one notices, are minimalistic with unusual colour combinations. There are grey mango motifs over neon green, a subtle shade of white with lemon yellow border and copper with turquoise highlighted all over, however, without the use of bling. “I did grow up in a small village but developed urban sensibilities because of my exposure at NIFT. My works are indeed bright but they don’t feed on bling or shimmer. These days, people areeducated and want intelligent designs. To those who argue there is a demand for those glittery silhouettes, my answer is, people are buying them because this is what they are getting in showrooms.”After doing a lot of quirky, bright element, the designer is now launching a new collection Mogra with only pastel shades. “Chanderi is a very soft fabric and the subtle fragrance-like whites and silvers which I am using this time will only add charm to my already elegant image of a woman.” He sums up, “Till now, my woman wore khadi saris and carried a jhola around. Now she will wear sophisticated pearls around her neck and carry a clutch bag.”Pioneer, April 17, 20116. Dastkar Mumbai Bazaar 2011DASTKAR, an organisation working with crafts and craftspeople all over India for over 30 years, is organising The Dastkar Mumbai Bazaar at Prince of Wales Museum(Coomaraswami Hall) Kala Ghoda Mumbai from 13th May 2011 to 23rd May 2011.With nearly 75 – 80 stalls the 11 day exhibition will bring together artisans from 18 States showcasing a collection of art and handcrafted fabrics, accessories and gift items from across the rural heartlands of India. This will include Patachitra, Bead Work, Weaving, Jewelry & Decorative, Embroidery, Tie & Dye, Prints, Footware, Painting, Decorative’s, Patch Work, Leather Cane and Bamboo Products Sarees & Textiles, Assorted Wooden Products among others. Artists participating are from the states of Assam, Orissa, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Kashmir, Gujarat, Karnataka, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Uttrakhand, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, MaharashtraIndia Infoline News Service , Apr 15, 2011END <br />