Delhi artist Shelly Jyoti, known for her textile-based installations, presents her newest series dedicated to the lives of spinners, weavers and traditional artisans.
Shelly Jyoti revisits Gandhian philosophies through multimedia artworks using khadi textile, ajrakh printing and kantha embroidery to talk about the principles of swadeshi, swadharma and swaraj.
With a background in fashion design, Delhi artist Shelly Jyoti creates textile-based installations that focus on the Gandhian ideals of swardharma, swadeshi and swaraj (self-purification, self-reliance and independence). In her latest solo exhibition, “The Khadi March: Just Five Meters”, at the Visual Arts Galley, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi until 26 October 2016, Jyoti uses khadi both as a symbol and as a material that expresses the three Gandhian qualities. Khadi is a handspun and hand-woven cloth from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan mainly made out of cotton, and sometimes including silk and wool.
Through the show, Jyoti considers how contemporary society can improve by observing Gandhi’s principles. In particular, she considers Gandhi’s proposition that if each urban citizen bought five yards of khadi, together the thirty-crore urban population of India could transform the lives of rural spinners, weavers and traditional artisans by enriching their livelihood. Quoted in the press release, Jyoti says:
The current exhibition is a call to action that challenges people who live in urban cities to grant dignity to the rural brethren and to rethink our engagement with the spinners, weavers and people who work with handicrafts in the villages. […] While working with those who have inherited and are passing on our textile traditions, I have been able to consider the critical relationship between the materials and traditional processes used in Ajrakh production, the role of artisan as a maker and role of artist as a visualizer. The khadi artworks have been made using the fiber and natural dyes of Ajrakh traditions.
For the body of work on show, Jyoti has collaborated with tenth-generation Ajrakh artisans from Bhuj, Gujarat in Northwest India. Ajrakh is a unique process of block printing found in India’s earliest settlements, still practiced in northwest India and Pakistan, particularly in the city of Bhuj. Jyoti has also worked with West Bengal’s women artisans specialising in Kantha embroidery.
The featured works include several khadi site-specific installations, 20 Ajrakh textile artworks, a multimedia spoken poetry art and a documentary of Ajrakh textile process. Some highlights include The Yarn Wheel, a site-specific installation made up of 1000 bunches of handspun cotton yarn capturing the meditative process of the spinning wheel in stark contrast to machine made thread. Connecting Gandhi’s Nation is a site-specific installation made up of contemporary blouses, Ajrakh Gandhi caps, Ajrakh stoles, sculptured buttons and Ajrakh samplers. Just Five Yards is a site-specific installation made up of nine khadi handbags inspired by Gandhi’s quote in Young India with the logo of “Just five yards”.
“The Khadi March: Just Five Meters” by Shelly Jyoti runs at the Visual Arts Galley, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi from 20 to 26 October 2016.
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