A saree looks beautiful in every form and in order to further Delhiites’ affair with the garment, a three-day exhibition was inaugurated in the capital.
A saree looks beautiful in every form and in order to further Delhiites’ affair with the garment, a three-day exhibition was inaugurated in the capital. Titled “Sarees of India: Innovating Tradition” the exhibition was organised by the Delhi Crafts Council with an aim to promote traditional weavers.
It also sought to highlight innovative techniques and designs that infuse new life into traditional methods, prints and weaves. Inaugurated by well-known dancer Sonal Mansingh, the exhibition was an attempt to not only showcase the talented weavers, but also the myriad range of sarees. There was a range of sarees in natural indigo from Udaipur, intricate Ikat in natural silk and hand block and hand woven printed, while Suleiman Khatri will come with a range of traditional Bandhani sarees. There were exquisite Orissa weaves in the Bomkaiand Sambalpuri tradition and Bhagalpuri silks. Weaver’s Studio Kolkata also made its debut at the saree exhibition with an interesting mix of Bengal weaves and prints.
There were individual weavers, too, who showcased their works. Anuradha Kuli, a weaver from Assam who works with natural dyes, has been responsible for reviving old traditional motifs of the Mising and Miri tribes. This year, she was selected to present her sarees at Mumbai as part of India Fashion Week 2016. Pradeep Pillai brought along with him the Tussar saree from Bihar and silk Venkatgiri of Andhra Pradesh. Santosh Saha had bespoke cotton Jamdanis to lure Delhiites with.
The exhibition also witnessed Shahid Junaid, a weaver from the lineage of a renowned family of traditional weavers of Varanasi, being awarded the Sutkar Samman 2016. The council presents this award to honour a weaver for the excellence of his skills and for his commitment to continuing the rich tradition of handloom weaving of his region.
The enterprise run by Shahid — the Haji Munna Creation — is named after his forefathers and the registration was done in 1844. Haji Munna Creations has had a long tradition of working with cotton sarees woven with Mughal buta patterns and borders. With time, this family started working with silk as well. Junaid’s specialty is working with pastel shades and he is committed to reviving old Mughal motifs. He is all praise for the sharp eye that the Delhi Crafts Council has as it has set to promote the right people at the right time. “It is important for the people to support weavers the demand for sarees is low and the governments had been giving a lot of boost to powerlooms and is clearly neglecting the handloom. But there are a few things that the powerloom will never be able to create,” Junaid says confidently.
He also rues that the image of Benaras has taken a beating and is upbeat about salvaging it in whatever way he can. “There’s lot of honesty and sincerity that a weaver puts in and with a decent profit, he can sell his product. But we need to remain true to our tradition and our skill,” Junaid elucidates.
The future of this handloom and weavers is good provided the new generation is willing to take it up. “Right now, a suited-booted person won’t take to handloom I want to create a place where even educated people would invest their time, energy and skill in the traditional art of weaving, and this could be possible with the backing of various organisations like the DCC,” Junaid says optimistically.
Kamayani Jalan, the member-in-charge of Sarees of India and the vice-president of DCC, says the endeavour is aimed at celebrating the unparalleled hand skills of Indian craftsmen who are struggling against all odds to keep their rich traditions alive.