Mumbaiâ€™s Artisans gallery to mark Indiaâ€™s 70 years of Independence will be hosting a touring exhibition â€˜India Streetâ€™ which is part of the UK-India 2017 programme and is supported by Creative Scotland, British Council Scotland and British Council India. The design exhibition â€˜India Street Bazaarâ€™, will be accompanied by a programme of events exploring slow fashion and design collaboration. It compares Scotlandâ€™s textile industry and Indiaâ€™s thriving crafts.
The aim of India Street Bazaar is to highlight the importance of sustainability, looking at how contemporary designers can work ethically in global, digital age. India Street Bazaar curator Katy West who traveled to India in 2010 on a research trip exploring crafts was overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of what was being made, and also the contrast with Scotland in terms of geography and textile industry.
Trying to find common ground and stumbled upon the Turkey red industry from the west of Scotland, which was once the biggest producer of Turkey Red fabrics, although no longer in production, it had strong connections to India craft in how it produced its textile â€“ naturally dyed fabric â€“ with India their biggest export market.
Katy West invited seven designers â€“ Laura Spring, Lokesh Ghai, Charlotte Linton, People Tree, Emlyn Firth, Raw Mango, Gabriella Marcella â€“ from India and Scotland to explore the Turkey red archives and respond to the fabrics, their colours, patterns, and motifs. At Artisans Director Radhi Parekh invited Geeta Khandelwal, Peoli, Rajesh Vankar, Pracheen, Fahd Khatri, and Indigene to respond to the India Street project through their artisanal craft practice of weave, bandhani, block print, and madder red dye.
For the Mumbai edition, designers and artisans bring the story full circle as they refer to Scotlandâ€™s industrial textile history and the Indian patterns it sought to replicate. The Mumbai edition of India Street at Artisansâ€™ brings the story of madder in India up to date, as a counterpoint to the 19th-century story of Turkey Red.
The project uncovers a decline in the use of natural madder where it was once prevalent. Many artisans who have switched to the easier-to-use synthetic Alizarin, are relearning traditional dye recipes. While drawing inspiration from Turkey red, the artisans have rediscovered their own histories.
The designers have created vibrant scarves, shirts, t-shirts, cotton shoppers, pyjamas, quilts and cushion covers in a collection that unites Scotlandâ€™s industrial textile history with the Indian designs and patterns it sought to replicate.
Each product produced here reflects the designersâ€™ position in relation to business models, ethics of production, fashion and taste. Supporting the exhibition is a talks programme and a series of workshops including a discussion on the role of womenâ€™s work in craft hosted by Harshada Patil and a weekend workshop with India Street designer Emlyn Firth and Ajrakh printer Soyab Kathri.
The exhibition India Street Bazaar will be held from 4 to 12 November at Artisansâ€™, 52-56, Dr V B Gandhi Marg, Rhythm House Lane, Kala Ghoda, Fort.
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