Transcript - Art- Design History and Yali

This room traces through objects elements of different design movements that have made their way into our textiles today. The year leading to independence and post-independence saw a reflection of multiple movements from Bauhaus, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Cubism, Surrealism,Orientalism, Minimalism, etc. in different realms of crafts. Textiles found different directions in terms of the transformation of aesthetics from traditional to contemporary, which involved interventions by designers in the weaving process. An array of these interventions were displayed as part of the textile exhibition series called Vishwakarma 1982–1990, followed by exhibitions such as Khadi: The Fabric of Freedom in 2002.  These series of design movements transformed the vision of designers and craftsmen. It directly or indirectly, as a result of interactions, influenced the evolution or revival of crafts. The processes, including spinning and weaving, complimented the shift in aesthetics. A change in materials, colours, and simplified patterns with play of lines and geometric contours was a result of these influences. 

The focus on the sarees in this room reveals that the saree, although perceived here through different design movements and their influences, is really a highly engineered draped garment that is fully constructed on the loom. Each saree was designed as a marker of identity. Differentiated by material, construction technique, texture, colour, pattern, dimension they reflect diverse communities, geography, culture, language, sometimes religion cross -cultural influences that emerge as you proceed through the room.

Manuel Bauer- Photographs
We begin with a set of  photographs taken by Manuel Bauer for the project Khadi - The Fabric of Freedom curated by Martand Singh. The pictures highlight different stages of spinning at the village of Ponduru in Andhra Pradesh. The same process, with the same materials are used by younger members of the same family today. 

Gandhi is said to have worn Khadi from Ponduru - today this is highly sought after by our politicians. Working closely with the weavers at Ponduru, Rakesh Thakore designed this Ponduru saree in collaboration with Yali ironically, creating very simple elements of lines with the subtle interplay of pinks and yellows with the use of the three shuttle technique that facilitates an interpretation of Minimalism that is simple, utilitarian and still elegant.

Parrot Saree
First developed for the Vishwakarma series of exhibitions, this textile     speaks to the Art Deco Movement popular between the 1920’s and 1930s. Art Deco typically references stylized decorative elements, such as chevrons, sunburst motifs, and stylized floral patterns. Here the traditional parrot is “streamlined” and includes stylised decorative panels. In India textiles travel and are accepted among different regions irrespective of the linguistic and cultural divisions. This saree designed to facilitate a Venkatagiri aesthetic of parrot, placed at the end of palla, while leaving the field plain,  has been hybridised in Benaras within an Art Deco vocabulary.

Vishwakarma Red Saree
The use of minimalism in an Indian context is taken further with this red saree - also created originally for the Vishwakarma exhibitions. The use of lines in check and the geometric four-leaved clover as a konia shows a shift from the naturalistic patterning of the paisley to a simpler form. The skill here is recognised by the introduction of a single line through the four leaf clover that can only  be introduced by hand with such detail. Made in pure zari and lustrous silk, this saree was also developed from its original form in cotton. Design differences indicate how within the same functionality, material can impact skill.

Half & Half Saree
The influence of art movements in textile is seen also within this half and half saree woven in silk. There are no pre colonial references in art or literature to such designs in Indian textiles. Drawing from Josef Albers colour theory’, the colour shades of madder and indigo that forms an essential part of the Indian colour palette are stylised in compositions to straight lines, right angles and strong primary colours.

Posheeda - Installation 
The use of silk, like that of cotton forms an important part in our study of materiality at Yali. Winded along these bamboo fabrications, the installation speaks about the processes involved in storing and using yarn prior to its use in weaving. These bamboo fabrications that do not leave the weaving centres until the stage of discarding are used all across the country for yarn winding but are named differently - such as Parivattams, Nota, Kanti, Panti. Posheeda- or invisible to lay man this instrument has been ‘designed’ by craftsmen to keep the utilitarian factor of weaving in mind. 

Willow saree
The willow silk saree and jacket drawn from the archives of The Registry of Sarees underlines oriental influence on Indian textiles.Oriental art is often interchangeably used with the terms Eastern or Asian art and it refers to the historic and contemporary motifs originating from various Asian cultures and reflecting on the society in which it was produced. In this particular case, the patterns were used on wall paper in Europe before being adopted into patterning for Indian textiles.

Speaking of the archival collection at The Registry of Sarees, on the table are placed catalogues that document the collection of the exhibition titled- Red Lilies Water birds. The catalogue  documents the collection divided into nine stories illustrating cross-cultural currents as they may be understood through specific design elements and techniques. It provokes an examination of definitions and the regional associations through which we understand Indian textiles today.

Next to it are placed a set of four fragrances inspired by the collection at The Registry of Sarees, crafted to evoke your most cherished memories of Indian weaves.  Just as a saree wraps around and embraces our forms, the fragrances evoke a sense of layering and can be used to suit the wearer's moods and fantasies- in many layers.- Yali Fragrances’ come in four notes – COTTON | SILK | GOLD ZARI | SILVER ZARI  These are  designed to come together and express tones that are uniquely you. Cotton and Silk form the base of the saree while Gold and Silver form extra weft or warp embellishment