ROM Launches Contemporary Textile Art by Swapnaa Tamhane

Discover immersive textile installations where arts and crafts meeting

TORONTO, ON, February 8, 2022 – This spring, the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) invites visitors to experience a series of immersive textile installations created by contemporary artist Swapnaa Tamhane, on view from March 12 to August 1 2022. Hosted by the ROM, Swapnaa Tamhane: Mobile Palace is the artist’s first solo exhibition in a museum and brings together compositions of layered fabrics that challenge traditional hierarchies between art and craft.

“The ROM is committed to supporting artists who are changing the global conversation about how art is created and expressed and to opening the door to new and diverse voices.says Josh Basseches, Director and CEO of the ROM. “This exhibition of Swapnaa Tamhane’s large, immersive textile artworks offers the public the opportunity to experience the transformative practices of this emerging artist.”

In the heart of the exhibition are three cotton fabric installations made of densely patterned block printed fabrics. Tamhane aims to reinvent the notions of decoration and pattern in compositions that echo the forms of tents used in India. In this presentation, the ROM invites visitors to walk around, within and through Tamhane’s expansive skylights to explore ideas of gathering and experiences of spaces.

“These works are meant to be experienced in person as they create spaces that inspire and elevate the feeling,” says Deepali Dewan, Dan Mishra Curator of South Asian Art and Culture at the ROM and Curator of mobile palace. “They are part of Tamhane’s larger practice of making a mark as an act of resistance. through the fabric, the line drawn on paper these are all marks that disrupt one sense of order and call for another. This way the pattern was never just a matter of decoration. It’s about how leaving a mark can shape new ways of seeing, thinking and being in the world.”

Tamhane is inspired by the rich textile traditions of India, approaching these techniques through a contemporary lens. inspectorired by Mughal and Ottoman tents used as mobile palaces, and with designs that reference Le Corbusier’s modernist architecture House of the Textile Mill Owners Association of Ahmedabad (ATMA), the exhibition also features wooden printing blocks, works on handmade paper and a new film showing how the pieces were created. Tamhane worked in a collaborative creative process with artists based in Gujarat, India, including dyer and printer Salemamad Khatri, wood block carver Mukesh Prajapati, and the Qasab-Kutch Craftsmen embroidery collective. Tamhane designed patterns, appliqués and beads to create punctuated interruptions in repeating patterns, asking us to consider the spaces in between.

“These works offer new ways of collaborating with artisans and exploring the possibilities of ornamentation to tell a larger story», explains the artist Swapnaa Tamhane. “My process and these works resist the way the hierarchies of art, craft and design have been determined by colonial ideas.”

Swapnaa Tamhane aims to destabilize and detach colonial constructions as an artist, curator and writer. Tamhane has a very varied artistic practice and her work includes drawing, textiles, handmade paper, text and sculpture. Based in Montreal, Tamhane has previously exhibited her work at A Space Gallery in Toronto, Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa and articule in Montreal.

The exhibition is generously supported by the exhibition’s main sponsor, Dan Mishra, with additional support from the Canada Council for the Arts. The Dan Mishra Initiative for South Asia, launched in 2017, created a newly endowed curator position and sustainable funding for exhibitions, public engagement, research and learning activities that support and strengthen the ROM’s commitment to South Asian art and culture..

The key works in the exhibition were created with support from the ROM’s IARTS Textiles of India grant, for which Tamhane was selected as the 2019-2020 laureate. The grant was established in honor of the late Arti Chandaria to celebrate the splendor and influence of Indian textile arts. On sayplay on Level 3 of the ROM, Third Floor Center Block, Swapnaa Tamhane: Mobile Palace is included with general admission to the ROM.


Swapnaa Tamhane, Detail of the panel of mobile palace, 2019-2021. Natural dyes, appliqués and beads on cotton, courtesy of the artist. © Royal Ontario Museum.

Visit the ROM:
Visitors are encouraged to purchase timed tickets in advance. All visitors aged 12 and over must show proof of full vaccination upon entering the Museum. See online
Guidelines for visitors for more information.

ROM communications
[email protected]

Sophie von Hahnsenior publicist
[email protected]
*Email is preferred during COVID-19 work from home protocols

ROM Social Media
Instagram: @romtoronto
Facebook: @royalontariomuseum
Twitter: @ROMToronto

Opened in 1914, the Royal Ontario Museum showcases art, culture and nature from around the world and through the ages. Among the top 10 cultural institutions in North America, Canada’s largest and most comprehensive museum houses a world-class collection of 13 million works of art and natural history specimens, displayed in 40 galleries and exhibition spaces. As the nation’s preeminent field research institute and an international leader in new and original discoveries, the ROM plays a vital role in advancing our understanding of the artistic, cultural and natural world. Combining its original heritage architecture with contemporary Michael Lee-Chin crystal designed by Daniel Libeskind, the ROM is a national landmark and vibrant cultural destination in the heart of Toronto for all to enjoy.

Comments are closed.