Ritu Kumar’s new exhibition deep-dives into the rich history of textile panels
Don't miss this if you're in Delhi
In her 50-year-long journey, Ritu Kumar has never left behind her first and foremost love—textiles. She has travelled around the world, studied historic textile collections and worked on contemporary hand-making traditions as well. Kumar’s upcoming exhibition, Kanaat, is an ode to the rich history of hand-painted and printed Indian textiles.
AN AGE-OLD TRADITION
Historically, the word ‘Kanaat’ means textile panels and Kumar’s exhibition is a showcase of these long-lost masterpieces that were made in India and celebrated by the entire world. The curation will present historical pieces, archival images and lesser-known narratives about 3000-year-old Ajrakh dyed fabrics, scarves used by men in arid regions of North India, painted Kanaats used during the Mughal era, and the extremely popular tree of life motif that formed the basis of chintz in England.
These techniques, which often recreated the beauty of flora and fauna, reached as far and wide as royal palaces in Europe and the Persian markets during the 18th and 19th century. Hand-painted and printed textiles also formed the foundation of Islamic prayer rugs made in South India, along with Kalamkari fabrics produced in the hinterland of Andhra Pradesh.
REVIVING ANCIENT TECHNIQUES
The exhibition will also display Kumar’s long-held passion for textiles isn’t just for its artisanal qualities—it’s academic too. So it is going to present several historical pieces, archival images and lesser-known narratives around the diverse traditions of hand-painting and hand-printing on cloth. In addition to this, Kanaat will exhibit some pieces from Kumar’s home-line.
Ultimately, Kumar’s exhibition is a dedication to her life-long mission of celebrating Indian textiles that are brimming with life.
Kanaat is on display from December 12-13 at the Ritu Kumar store in South Extension, Delhi.