Event: Colourful Banjara Textiles from the British Museum’s Reserve Collection at Blythe House, Olympia

Event date: Wednesday 19 April 2017, 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm

The Banjara are a semi-nomadic people who, prior to the construction of roads and railways, provided long-distance bullock caravans of goods across India. They are known for their vibrant clothing and domestic textiles in shades of rich yellow ochre and red madder decorated by mirrors, embroidery, applique and shells. This event will be presented by the British Museum’s T. Richard Blurton, Head of the South and Southeast Asia Section, and textile gallery owner (and OATG member), Joss Graham.

See Asian Textiles magazine #64 (June 2016) for a review of a new book on the Banjara: Textiles of the Banjara.

Event location: Blythe House, Olympia, London (more details on access provided when booking).

Please note that numbers for this event are strictly limited and advanced registration is essential. Places will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

For more information, and to register for your place, visit the Eventbrite page.

News: SADACC Trust Project – India and Pakistan Remembered

sadacc-india-and-pakistan-remembered

The SADACC Trust (based in Norwich, UK) is seeking participants to be interviewed for the India and Pakistan Remembered 2017 project.

To coincide with the 70th anniversary of India and Pakistan’s independence, the SADACC Trust is embarking on an exciting oral history project. We will be interviewing people who have lived in India or Pakistan, or whose relatives lived there in the past.

We want to hear about your memories or family stories of life in India and Pakistan (whether recent or centuries ago). In particular, we are interested in learning about objects, heirlooms or keepsakes from the subcontinent that are still attached to, or seem to contain these memories. In discovering how objects help to relate people to events in the past, we hope to better understand what memories the objects in The South Asia Collection might evoke in visitors to the museum.

The India and Pakistan Remembered 2017 project will create an archive of recorded interviews about people’s memories (whether their own or stories they have inherited) of life in India and Pakistan. The interviews will also contribute to an exhibition – ‘India and Pakistan Remembered’ – and accompanying publications.

If you are interested or would like more information, please contact our Collection Curator Ben Cartwright at info@sadacc.co.uk or phone 01603 663890.

Participants are encouraged to bring objects (or photographs of those objects) which evoke stories of life in either India or Pakistan to interview sessions. We hope to explore how these objects spark memories of certain people, places and events in the past.

By agreeing to be involved, you will be a unique voice contributing to a better understanding of the history of India and Pakistan through lived experiences.

Please circulate this message to anyone you feel would be interested in being interviewed.

Exhibition: Lockwood Kipling – Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London

va-john-lockwood-kipling

Exhibition dates: 14 January – 2 April 2017

Explore the life, work and lasting impact of John Lockwood Kipling (1837–1911), an artist, teacher, curator and influential figure in the Arts and Crafts movement. Lockwood Kipling was a social campaigner for the preservation of the Indian crafts, a craftsman whose terracotta panels can still be seen on the exterior of the V&A and an illustrator of books by his son, the renowned writer Rudyard Kipling.  This exhibition uncovers the history of the V&A’s collections through the life of Lockwood Kipling who played a significant role in shaping the foundation collection.  Highlights include paintings of the Indian section of the Great Exhibition, designs and illustrations for books, and furniture designed for royal residences Bagshot Park and Osborne.

For more information, visit the website of the V&A Museum, London.

Event: Deeper than Indigo – Jenny Balfour Paul speaks at the Pitt Rivers Museum

friends-of-the-pitt-rivers-deeper-than-indigo

Event date: Wednesday 16 November, 6 pm

Jenny Balfour Paul (of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter University) will give an illustrated account of her adventures in the heartlands of India’s Raj, Polynesia, the South China Seas and Arabia, in search of Thomas Machell, indigo planter and explorer, whose remarkable journals she found in the British Library.

This event promises to be quite popular.  The maximum capacity of the Pitt Rivers Museum Lecture Room is 70 and, rather than have to turn people away on the evening, the Friends of the Pitt Rivers have decided to set up a booking system.  Tickets are free of charge, but you do need to reserve your place.

Location: Pitt Rivers Museum Lecture Room, Oxford

To book your free place at this event, visit the Eventbrite booking page.

Exhibition: Art and Stories from Mughal India

Cleveland Museum - Art and Stories from Mughal India

Exhibition dates: 31 July – 23 October 2016

The Mughal Empire existed for more than 300 years, from the early 1500s until the arrival of British colonial rule in 1857, encompassing territory that included vast portions of the Indian subcontinent and Afghanistan. The Mughal rulers were Central Asian Muslims who assimilated many religious faiths under their administration. Famed for its distinctive architecture, including the Taj Mahal, the Mughal Empire is also renowned for its colourful and engaging paintings. Many of these take the form of narrative tales that not only delight the eye but also reveal fascinating ways in which the empire’s diverse cultural traditions found their way into royal creative expressions.

The centennial exhibition Art and Stories from Mughal India focuses on four stories – an epic, a fable, a mystic romance and a sacred biography – embedded within the overarching story of the Mughals themselves as told through 100 paintings drawn from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s world-class holdings. Many works from the museum’s recent landmark acquisition of the Catherine Glynn Benkaim and Ralph Benkaim Collection are exhibited here and published in a companion volume for the first time. Rounding out the exhibition is a selection of costumes, textiles, jewellery, arms and armour, architectural elements, and decorative arts on loan from museums across the United States.

For more information, visit the website of the Cleveland Museum of Art, USA.

Exhibition: Worlds on a String – Beads, Journeys, Inspirations

Textile Museum, Canada - Worlds on a String

Exhibition dates: 15 June – 23 October 2016

Universal materials of communication, ornamentation and ritual, glass beads offer extraordinary insight into worlds and world views – microcosms of meaning and symbolism. Cherished around the world, the shared passion for these luminous, kaleidoscopic treasures has sparked global trade, drawing ships across oceans. Media of exchange, currency, identity and status, their language offers unique insight into global trajectories of influence and innovation. Worlds on a String explores beads and beaded objects across time and cultures, a story of journeys and inspirations that speaks to how, through centuries, the bead has informed economic and political relationships, shaping cultural and creative imagination.

With a size that belies their potency, the wide-reaching distribution of glass beads was transformative – a compelling force of cultural impact and political influence. The earliest glass beads were produced in India in 200 BC, and exported to countries along major trade routes to Africa and Asia. From the sixteenth century onwards, beads manufactured in Europe made their way throughout the world, extending colonial relationships, complementing rather than replacing indigenous practices. As artists skillfully merged tradition with innovation, bead-making cultures flourished in response to this new form with a spectrum of visual brilliance and technical innovation that would ultimately influence Europe in return, from popular domestic crafts to haute couture.

Worlds on a String brings together stunning examples of vibrant beadwork from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Oceania and Europe, and explores the process through which beading practices have evolved, echoing and absorbing changing social and political circumstances as this popular new material inflected cultural perspectives and creative practices. The popularity of beads has never waned, their forms and meanings transforming constantly. Today artists continue to work in this compelling art form as a vehicle for creativity and self-expression, as well as strategies of cultural resistance and economic resilience. Worlds on a String includes work by contemporary artists from the Ubuhle community in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa as well as Canadian indigenous art – work that speaks to the significance of glass beads in the ongoing reimagination and reinvention of global traditions and social enterprise.

For more information, visit the website of the Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto, Canada.

Event: Two-Day Conference on Assam – Textile Transmission and the Performance of Dance

British Museum - Krishna in the Garden of Assam

Event dates: 8–9 July 2016

This two-day conference, to be held at the British Museum, will respond to the current exhibition in Room 91, Krishna in the Garden of Assam: The Cultural Context of an Indian Textile.

It will consider Assamese textiles, trade and contact through the Himalayas from north-east India to Tibet, and the performance traditions that connect the ancient Krishna-related textiles with modern Assamese culture. The conference will include an exhibition viewing and reception.

Among the speakers will be Rosemary Crill, speaking about Indian woven silks in Tibet.

Tickets are £20.

For more information, and to download the conference schedule or book a place, visit the website of the British Museum, London.

Exhibition: The Tales we Tell – Indian Warli Painting

V&A - Indian Warli Painting

Exhibition dates: open until 6 November 2016

This exhibition presents a rare insight into Warli, a tribal art form from Western India. Drawing on a store of tribal memory, myths and everyday life, it has evolved from restricted ritual drawings into an applied art in the process of transition. Focusing on the innovative style of Jivya Soma Mashe, who opened up the traditions of Warli to a new iconography, and his follower Ramesh Hengadi, who has developed his own distinctive style in response to changes in community life, and a shift in local markets and global economies.

Also featuring a film by artist, Johnny Magee, reflecting on Mashe’s practice and daily life. An installation created through a pictorial exchange between pupils at Redlands Primary School, Tower Hamlets, and a village school in Dahanu, Thane. The children use the accessible narrative language of Warli to tell each other stories about their respective lives.

The Tales we Tell: Indian Warli Painting is part of the V&A India Festival.

For more information, visit the website of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Exhibition: Stitching the Square – Banjara Embroidery from India

Joss Graham - Stitching the Square

Exhibition dates: 25 May – 30 July 2016

OATG member Joss Graham will launch his summer exhibition in London this month, on Banjara embroidery from India, in association with Charllotte Kwon and Tim McLaughlin, founders of Maiwa Handprints and authors of the book Textiles of the Banjara.

There are a couple of dates to note in particular related to this exhibition:

Saturday 21 May, 2–5pm  seminar and special viewing. Charllotte and Tim will give a presentation of their work over the last twelve years, researching and reviving the traditional embroidery of the Banjara in India.

Tuesday 24 May, 6–9pm – private view and book signing. Charllotte and Tim will be present to sign copies of their book, Textiles of the Banjara.

The exhibition will be held at the Joss Graham Gallery, 10 Eccleston Street, London, SW1W 9LT.

For more information, visit Joss Graham’s website.

Exhibition: Bejewelled Treasures – The Al Thani Collection

 

V&A - Bejewelled Treasures

Exhibition dates: 21 November 2015 – 10 April 2016

This exhibition showcases over one hundred exceptional jewels, jewelled artefacts and jades from the Al Thani Collection.

The pieces range in date from the early seventeenth century to the present day, and were made in the Indian subcontinent or inspired by India. They include spectacular precious stones, jades made for Mughal emperors and a gold tiger-head finial from the throne of the South Indian ruler Tipu Sultan.

Objects from the collections of the Nizams of Hyderabad show the influence of Western techniques and gem cutting on the work of Indian jewellers. Famous jewels from leading European houses such as Cartier reveal the more significant impact of India on Art Deco jewellery in the early twentieth century.

These bejewelled treasures highlight the exceptional skills of goldsmiths within the Indian subcontinent. The most recent pieces by jewellers such as JAR and Bhagat also demonstrate that cross-cultural exchanges continue to inspire contemporary jewellery design in India and Europe.

For more information, visit the website of the V&A Museum, London.