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Kutch on a weave

From geometric designs to intricate mirror-work, celebrate the desert district Kutch’s rich heritage on embroidered textiles and handicrafts, at the Kala Raksha exhibition being held at Artisans’

Keen to discover the difference between Suf embroidery and Rabari mirror-work, or learn the art of making a chessboard with patchwork? Artisans’ gallery is currently hosting an exhibition titled Our Art Is Our Identity And Life that showcases embroidered textiles and handicrafts of Kala Raksha’s women artisans from Kutch. Formed in 1993 as a registered Society and Trust, Kala Raksha helps preserve the cultures of the ethnic communities from the desert district through traditional arts.

A Kala Raksha artisan working on a saree embroidery
A Kala Raksha artisan working on a saree embroidery

What’s on show?
With each piece hand-stitched by the artisans, the collection includes garments, home decor furnishings as well as accessories featuring six embroideries — the intricate triangular Suf, Khaarek with geometric patterns, Paako comprising floral motifs, Rabari mirror-encrusted motifs, Jat embroidery featuring cross-stitch and fine Mutava needlework. Also on display is Patchwork and Appliqué done by the elderly women of the village.

A patchwork chessboard
A patchwork chessboard

“Every artisan works on a piece for two to three months; and this is an outcome of her imagination. She uses traditional, cultural motifs that are a part of the community heritage. We are showcasing silk and cotton sarees, tunics, salwar kameez, quilts, cushion covers, bags and wall hangings,” says Mukesh Bahnani, one of the members of Kala Raksha Trust. Ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 35,000 for the heavy silk sarees, the trust has brought in three artisans from their hometown for live demonstrations on how the artwork is done.

Rabari Khothlo bag
Rabari Khothlo bag

Also included in the exhibition are traditional games such as an embroidered Chopad, Ashthchama and NavKakri, patchwork Snakes and Ladders, Checkers as well as Chess. “The chessboard is made using patchwork and the other parts like king, queen, bishop, etc, are fabric soft toys often used as wall hangings,” informs Bahnani.

Suf embroidered saree

For artisans’ aid
Working with nearly 1,000 embroidery artisans from seven ethnic communities of Kutch, Kala Raksha aims at providing a platform to these women through the exhibit. “We have been conducting such exhibitions in Mumbai for the last three-four years. Our artisans get much needed visibility and orders from different parts of India,” says Bahnani.

Till: January 31, 11 am to 7 pm
At: Artisans’, Dr VB Gandhi Marg, Kala Ghoda. 
Call: 9820145397

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