NEW DELHI: In an attempt to explore Gandhi’s life, his legacy and the legend he turned into, Abheraj Baldota Foundation and Swar, a performing arts foundation, are jointly organising Swar Santati exhibition. The show, currently on at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, celebrates Gandhi not just through his memorabilia but also through the expressions of various artists, textile designers, photographers and poets. The show, jointly organised by Baldota Foundation and Swar, a performing arts foundation, is celebrating Gandhi not just through his memorabilia but also through the expressions of various artists, textile designers, photographers and poets. Apart from objects and documents related to Gandhi, which Philatelist and Numismatist Kishore Jhunjhunwala collected in the last over 50 years, the show features installations on Khadi by a number of multi-disciplinary artists, including Gaurav Gupta, Gaurang Shah, Jean Francois Lassage among others.
Each of the works on show strives to reiterate the very core of Gandhiji’s message – another way is possible. Through their creative, the participants have given their own interpretation and understanding of the Father of Nation. “For me Swar Santati is a limitless canvas of introspection and self-discovery woven by yarns of ethos derived from Gandhian Influence rendered with the hues of my most intrinsic emotions, especially love and pride for my roots, my country, its leaders, artists, artisans, its aesthetics and its rich heritage,” says art and couture connoisseur Lavina Baldota, who has curated the show. She is also the custodian of the Abheraj Baldota Foundation.
Khadi has been an integral part of life for Lavina thanks to her grandfather Abheraj Baldota who was associated with Mahatma Gandhi during the struggle for freedom. “As I immersed in the research for this project, I met many people who were influenced and inspired by the Mahatma. I felt compelled to share those stories,” says Baldota, adding, “The influence of M a h a t m a Gandhi is soul stirring and eternal.” While all the art works are unique in their own right, what impresses the most is the collection of exquisite Khadi saris with artist Raja Ravi Verma’s lithographs recreated in painstaking detail on the pallus through an intricate jamdani weave with yarns dyed in 600 different hues. Created by textile designer and revivalist Gaurang Shah, the focus here is on Swadeshi movement. “Gandhi made Charkha and Swadeshi a household name; his perseverance inspired me.
As for Raja Ravi Varma, I was always fascinated by the beautiful saris draped by the women in his portraits. And that’s how this mix of two came up,” says Shah explaining the reason behind his creation. Light designers Prateek Jain and Gautam Seth from Klove Studio have tried to the translate philosophy of Dandi March with ahimsa through their architectural work, which celebrates the simplicity and poignancy of Gandhi’s life. Couturier Gaurav Gupta pays an ode to Mahatma Gandhi through an installation that denotes the silhouette soul of Gandhi made with Khadi. “Khadi is one of the most ecologically revolutionary initiatives till date.
I wish that when people stand in the centre of this installation and interacts with it, they will reflect upon the simplicity of Gandhi and the harmony of his heartbeat. I want everyone to talk to the Gandhi within them by reflecting on the Gandhi in front of them,” says Gupta. Poet Navkirat Sodhi pays her tribute to Gandhi and his ideals through poetry while Couture Embroiderer Jean François Lesage has exhibited letters by Mahatma Gandhi and the route of the march to Dandi on to khadi through couture embroidery. The exhibition also has rare paintings and chromolithography works depicting Mahatma Gandhi sourced from Bengaluru- based Museum of Art and Photography. Besides, the IGNCA has also put up some of the creatives from its cultural archives on the show.
AT: IGNCA, New Delhi TILL: February 9