The space is executed by textile preserver, curator and designer - Ms. Ishita Das, who is a fashion graduate from Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore. Founder of The Silk Concept- a gender fluid label focusing on Eri aka non-ahimsa silk and Director of Indie Silk Project Private Limited.
She aims to help artisans of North-East, India to sustain their life & make handloom/handicrafts a viable source of income. This has indeed helped the rural artisans to feel empowered and lead the next generation to continue the craft. Today, while she is single-handedly bringing about a change to how silk is generally perceived, Ishita is also keen to open up the world to north-East of India and to the cultures that live alongside hers.
This space would not have been completed without her assistant curator - Mr. Lonav Bharali who is a photo journalist hailing from the valley of Assam, Northeast India. His education in psychology helped him understand the human perspective of observing an image.
Special thank you to all the expert help and knowledge support by Mrs Alakananda Das, Krishna Sarma and Swapnanil Barua.
Curated by Ms. Ishita Das
The Viewing Lounge with a mounted projector for regular screenings, has wall installations, with the theme ‘Weaving a Heritage’ depicting the ethnic motifs in textile designs, traditional weaves and dyes used by the people along the River Brahmaputra.
The mighty Brahmaputra river from prehistoric times has given rise to a unique way of life for human migration. It has created an identity for the tribes and communities residing along the river banks and in ways that they have built their lives according to the river’s life cycle.
Over the coming months and years, we plan to shed light on different such indigenous tribes and communities that have lived along the river through their textiles, designs and motifs and how they connect Northeast India into one important thread.
Hand weaving forms an integral part of their culture and often looms are still seen outside their homes. The first textile tradition series consists of Bodo, Hajong, Deori, Rabha, Karbi, Dimasa and Singpho.
Textiles in India play an important role in conversations among people.
A piece of love that has been passed down from one generation to another and captures the nostalgia in heirloom. Similarly, the people along the Brahmaputra River carry the same feeling of nostalgia. This series is a tribute and a safe haven for those heirloom textiles that have been preserved for many years.
The space of installation allows people to handover their textiles for viewers to observe and be inspired by their beautiful motifs and textures that are rare to find in today’s quality and time. The highlight cloth pieces will keep changing as time passes becoming tales of bygone days.
A special thank you to all the contributors of the series:
Akashi Bhuyan, Anjali Barua’s Wedding Attire donated by Gopa Goswami, Geetashree Barua’s wedding attire, Alakananda Das, Meghali Das, Bobbeeta Sharma and Niroda Das
In the villages of Northeast India it is a common sight to see spinning and weaving. One of the most common sounds which is often heard is the click-clack of the loom. The handwoven products made by the weavers are a powerful symbol of self-resilience. They feed a local economy, supporting families and keeping rural households brimming with the very basic day-to-day needs enabling survival.
Therefore, this series exhibits the very ‘essence of handloom’ and how these tools help in making the process of handloom possible.
As seen in the installation are Drop Spindle (Takuri), Fly-shuttle (Ura-Maku) and Handcut Eri Silk Threads.
Northeast India is blessed with all the four kinds of wild silk; Mulberry, Tassar, Muga and Eri Silk.
Eri is the most different and truly a sustainable and ethical form of wild silk that is derived from nature. The weavers and those involved in the industry follow a slow and kind process wherein we wait for the silkworm to leave its cocoon. These cocoons are then collected and taken through the process of turning it into yarns and later weaves into fabrics. This white wool silk; often termed Eri silk, Ahimsa silk or the fabric of peace, as the process does not involve the killing of the silkworm, making their products completely cruelty-free and a product of honesty.
Hence, the transparent box installation brings you closer to the raw materials that are often kept hidden or not known to many. Interlacing an experiential journey between mankind and artisans.
This series exhibits ‘the birth from a cocoon to the finished cloth’.
Credits: Handspun, Handwoven and Herbal Dyed Eri Silk Saree by The Silk Concept
Nature plays an important role for the people of Northeast India. For centuries, they have been getting inspired and using materials that are derived from the natural environment. The weavers have been using the traditional method of dyeing from natural sources that surrounds them.
Therefore, the Herbal Hand Series shows life, experiences, effort and care that goes into bringing life to a simple natural thread.
We deeply appreciate all the efforts that our weavers have put in towards bringing the best of what nature has to offer.
Handloom weaving is an intrinsic part of Assamese culture. Besides economic importance it has great cultural relevance for the people of Assam. This framework brings together different elements of textiles that creates an identity for the people residing along the Brahmaputra River.For the people of this belt, silk is an important part of their community and forms an essence of their culture.
This series displays the four types of wild silk cocoons and threads that Northeast India is blessed with; Muga, Mulberry, Tassar and Eri Silk. The photographic representation is of the three major types of looms that are commonly found in rural households; Backstrap-loom, Stand-loom & Pit-loom.
The fascination for textiles brings forward life to a single piece of cloth that has been carefully handcrafted with love.
Courtesy: Motif cloth given by Alakananda Das
According to John Gillow, an expert on textiles in 1991 said that the history of the world can be read in textiles.
These indigenous tribes and communities along the Brahmaputra river have their own ways of communicating through their handwoven textiles; each design and motifs signifies and creates a specific purpose. It's believed that these textiles helped in differentiating the ethnic groups from one another without causing any confusion.Motifs as seen are - Mising, Bodo, Garo and Karbi