Taking part in an exhibition may not be new to designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee but having a co-participant — in this case, Milan-based designer Luisa Cevese — create bags and accessories out of the leftover cloth from his saris, certainly would be. Both Mukherjee and Cevese are co-particpants in an ongoing exhibition at Sotheby’s London, which is largely inspired by India.
Curated by British tastemaker Janice Blackburn, the exhibition which is aptly called “Inspired by India”, is on till May 15. It features textiles, ceramics, jewellery, furniture and photography — all of which have been inspired by the culture, colours and crafts of India.
“From fashion and jewellery to the arts and crafts, the country’s diversity has been celebrated abroad with much fanfare. This exhibition is the latest event to take this story forward,” says Maithili Parekh, Business Development Director, Sotheby’s India, adding that the exhibition boasts of both established as well as upcoming artists, from within and outside India.
Interestingly, Mukherjee is showcasing a range of specially commissioned shawls and headbands, apart from a line of bridal saris. “His saris have been handwoven in Benares (Varanasi) and they combine opulent beading and embroidery. The headbands, too, bear an Indian sensibility and yet they have a global appeal, which is why the exhibition is an ideal platform for such items,” Parekh explains. The show also features shawls by Christina Kim of the Los Angeles-based fashion house, Dosa, which is known for its khadi work, and Alice Cicolini’s jewellery that boasts of enamel work from Jaipur.
The other Indian participants to watch out for include Delhi-based potterRahul Kumar, who is showing his range of red coloured porcelain vessels, photographer Gita Pandit with her candid shots of life in India, and Gunjan Gupta who has embellished her furniture with thin sheets of 24-carat gold and silver leaf in keeping with the Mughal throne theme.
For curator Blackburn, this exhibition is an attempt to preserve Indian crafts and techniques of weaving, embroidery, metal work and enamelling — which are gradually disappearing. “The way to do this is to move them forward with well-designed products, which combine traditional skills in a contemporary way without sacrificing their historical context. All the designers I have selected for this exhibition share a passion for India,” she is quoted as saying on the Sotheby’s website.