A traveling exhibition highlights textile art

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Each quilt on display at the AIFACS gallery in Delhi hides heartbreaking stories within its frame. Anamika – We Too by Lalitha Rajan and Prabha Mathew, for example, has a group of rural women with their heads covered, carrying farm produce and buckets of water. The duo note that the quilt is a tribute to the women of the village, whose unpaid work to keep their household running smoothly often goes unnoticed.

This is one of 18 award-winning quilts touring the country in the “Threads That Bind” exhibit. Competing at India Quilt Festival 2019 in Chennai – India’s first quilting festival founded by quilt enthusiasts Varsha Sundararajan, Deepa Vasudevan and Tina Katwal – these are testament to how the art of quilting involves the use needles, threads, cotton, embellishments and cutting equipment. Sundararajan says, “The goal is to promote the art of quilting. It’s a billion dollar industry in the United States. Every city in America has a quilting festival every year. Our goal is to promote the related industries that fuel quilt making.

While Sundararajan notes that India probably has the oldest tradition of quilting, these are broadly divided into traditional, modern, and artistic categories. In the exhibition is the design by Ritu Sudharshan which combines patch blocks and appliqué blocks. Entitled Sweet Treats, it is a tribute to his love for baking. It features muffin and donut designs. The national bird of India, the peacock, is the theme of Chitra Mandanna, as it portrays her magnificent beauty. A Viewer’s Choice Award winner, Mandanna’s other play, Animal Whisperer, brings out the trait of compassion she witnessed in her two-year-old daughter when she offered her bananas to a cow in Coorg. Marline Turner of South Africa returns her fascination with the classic blue and white patterns of Chinese pottery and Yan Liu of Canada recreates Gustav Klimt’s famous painting The Lady in Gold.

The exhibition lasts until October 15.


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