Mayurbhanj

Vector (3)

mayurbhanj

Vector (3)

Patronage to Preservation

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This installation pays homage to the craft and culture of the eastern region of Mayurbhanj, Odisha. Santhal tribal inspirations from the region are given a contemporary spin and some local gendered clothing notions are tweaked. The result is a refreshing new take on an ancient practice that’s perfect for our times.
the installation
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At the centre of this series is the phuta sari. Two saris are used here - the body made from coarse cotton and the other, repurposed as a cape, made of linen/ghicha silk with cotton. The kacha, a distinct dhoti drape worn by the men of the tribe, was converted into the petticoat over which the phuta sari was draped.

The cape was chosen to symbolize empowerment and self-importance. But it also served to highlight style sustainability. Instead of showing sustainability through just recycling or upcycling, we want to show how a piece of clothing can be transformed into so many different outfits - why buy many multiple outfits when you can create new looks with what you already have?

If you’re looking for the blouse, there is none. Because this represents the local women’s preference for drapes that do not use a blouse - an unusual practice even when seen from the usual lens of today’s “modern” sensibilities.

By matching this exquisite santal sari with dokra jewellery, we tell the story of two coexisting art forms that come together to create something contemporary yet rooted in tradition.

Local sabai grass handicraft artistry is showcased by using these as props around the installation.

a tradition of sustainability
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  • All products sourced from within a 100 km radius, purchased directly from artisans
  • The dokra handicrafts were made with used brass utensils
  • Sabai is 100% vegan and uses no chemicals, low level of water and no pesticides

Textiles are like languages. If families abandon them, they will die.

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Akshita M. Bhanj Deo
know the craft
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Dokra

This ancient method of making metal artefacts is still in use today. It is non-ferrous metal casting using the lost-wax technique. One of the earliest known lost-wax artefacts is the famous 'dancing girl of Mohenjodaro'

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Phuta Jhala

These distinctive check saris are handwoven with thick low count cotton. Once commonly worn by locals in Mayurbhanj, very few clusters today make this traditional sari.

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Sabai Grass

This grass is usually cultivated in greater Mayurbhanj and in some parts of Nepal and China. The local craftsmen here cut the strands, bunch them together as needed, add them to boiling water with natural and vegetable dyes before drying it in the sun.

Dokra

Phuta Jhala

Sabai Grass

know the craft
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Dokra

This ancient method of making metal artefacts is still in use today. It is non-ferrous metal casting using the lost-wax technique. One of the earliest known lost-wax artefacts is the famous 'dancing girl of Mohenjodaro'

Phuta Jhala

These distinctive check saris are handwoven with thick low count cotton. Once commonly worn by locals in Mayurbhanj, very few clusters today make this traditional sari.

Sabai Grass

This grass is usually cultivated in greater Mayurbhanj and in some parts of Nepal and China. The local craftsmen here cut the strands, bunch them together as needed, add them to boiling water with natural and vegetable dyes before drying it in the sun.

Brought to Life at

The Belgadia Palace
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This 200-year-old palace-turned-homestay is an 18th century Victorian brick-built double-storey structure built in the classical Western style of Doric-Corinthian column, a mixture of Greek and Victorian architecture. The property promotes responsible and purposeful travel experiences by enabling visitors to engage with the local tribal community and through curated tours that explore the true soul of Odisha. The present-day occupants of the palace are Praveen Chandra Bhanj Deo who is the 47th ruler of the Bhanja dynasty and his wife Rashmi Rajya Laxmi of Mayurbhanj who belongs to the royal family of Jaisalmer.

Brought to Life with

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  • Dokra obtained from 2 families in Kuliana Village
  • Sabai grass for the backdrop acquired from Guhaldiha SHG
  • Conceptualised with support from Lipsa Hembram (Galang Gabaan)
royal patronage today
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The royal family of Mayurbhanj opened up their property, The Belgadia Palace, an 18th-century palace in 2019 to function as a platform whereby a percentage of funds from guests staying at the property is earmarked for use by the Mayurbhanj Foundation through which they conduct activities to increase livelihoods and development indicators in Odisha’s largest district. The idea is to use the property more as a platform to divert funds into the district’s small and medium-sized enterprises primarily in the arts to improve livelihoods and positively impact 100,000 lives in 10 years.

They begin by conducting research on finding new SHG's, community organizations, and even artisan clusters and take tourists who stay in their palace to meet these organizations and artisans to increase market linkages for these communities. In addition, they connect global development organizations to communities who may need them, and invite local artists to the palace and have them interact with guests to learn about dying crafts in the region, and run an artist residency to popularize cross-cultural knowledge sharing and encourage people to invest in these clusters to preserve and promote the handloom and handicraft sector in the eastern region.

In 2020, to aid artists during the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, the royal family started their inhouse brand Hasa Atelier, which combines art forms like Sabai, Dokra and handlooms from Odisha to make a sustainable luxury lifestyle capsule collection. The aim of Hasa Atelier is to get more artisans digitally connected to their consumers and have people be more educated about the endangered art forms of Odisha.

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the woven crown: the shindeshahi pagdi

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Local textiles have always had an interesting symbiotic relationship with the ruling families of the regions they thrived in. This exhibit is a testament to that - a sublime textile tradition enhanced by royalty.
the installation
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In this installation, a treasured collection of Chanderi fabrics, sarees and dupattas and angarakhas worn by the present and former rulers has been shown.

The prime spotlight is accorded to the regal boat shaped Shindeshahi pagdi - ceremonial pagdis worn by Scindia Maharajas. Made using stretched cotton Chanderi, this pagdi is typically 3.5 to 6 meters long with a width of approximately 1 meter.

a tradition of sustainability
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  • The Pagdi loom has almost become almost extinct, so the Gwalior family is continuously working with weavers to revive and sustain it.
  • The Pagdi loom is natural and uses natural dyeing processes.
  • The Pagdi is designed in such a way that no material goes to waste.
  • Independent weavers were engaged here rather than cluster weavers to ensure that the art retains its original beauty. A lot of individual weavers work on non-mechanized looms and eventually lose out on the monetary aspect.
  • The Shinde Shaahi Pagdi production process employs a channel that goes from farm to fiber all the way to fashion.

Through this campaign, we get to rewrite the cultural conservation of our memories and the weavers’ stories with renewed passion.

Priyadarshini Raje Scindia _ Image credit Conde Nast Traveller 1
HH Maharani Priyaraje Scindia
know the craft
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Chanderi

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Chanderi

It is also evocatively known as the ‘Yarn of the Royals’. It is particularly famous for its lightness, transparency and glossy texture. Originally, it was woven with handspun cotton yarn, extracted from a special root called Kolikanda and was as fine as 300 counts. Somewhere around the early 20th century, the typical designs made of white and off-white cloth with zari embellishments gave way to different motifs. Light as air, it is often compared to the famous muslins of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Brought to Life at

Jai Vilas Palace
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This imposing Palace was designed by British Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Michael Filose under the patronage of Maharaja Jayaji Rao Scindia. It is primarily built in a mix of European styles including Tuscan, Italian-Doric and Corinthian. The three-storey building is the current residence of the Scindia family. Out of the 400 rooms in the Palace, 35 have been converted into a museum wing - HH Sir Jiwajirao Scindia Museum.

Brought to Life with

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Local Chanderi weavers

royal patronage today
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In Gwalior, chanderi weavers have long been championed by the royal family. Realizing the need to expand chanderi’s reach, the current royal family, Hon’ble MP Jyotiraditya Scindia and Mrs. Priyadarshiniraje Scindia, have sought to bring in entrepreneurship to make this industry self-sustaining. For the past 14 years, they have worked to revive the built and living heritage of chanderi.

To improve the condition of the weavers by connecting them to the market, the Scindias have worked with various local and international designers to set up units and help with the design intervention. So far, they have worked with Rahul Mishra, Sanjay Garg, FabIndia and FDCI to name a few.

In the field of heritage preservation, the HH Sir Jiwajirao Scindia Museum boasts of over 200 exhibits of chanderi fabric in its permanent collection. These include a variety of garments such as sarees, kurtas and ceremonial pagdis.

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Deconstructed identities

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An exquisite collection of myriad sub-traditions in textiles and crafts - all from one regal corner of the country, Rajasthan. Every element here represents specific sub-cultures - both known and forgotten
the installation
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This installation was inspired by the textile styles and designs as used by the indigenous communities of this region of Rajasthan.

The cloak is made of pattu which is usually a shawl but here reworked as a cloak and this is paired with local cotton dhoti pants and turban tied in traditional fashion made of local ajrak.

The turban is tied in the traditional fashion and is made of local ajrak.

On the floor and in the backdrop, we have bright geometric patchwork quilts - Ralli work which is an upcycled quilt made by sewing several layers of old fabrics, where the upper most layer is made of new cotton cloth.

a tradition of sustainability
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  • Worked with 3 artisan clusters within a 50 km radius in Jaisalmer.
  • Worked with upcycled fabric craft (Ralli) which is reusing fabric waste in local houses.
  • The craft of Pattu is known for its natural fabric and the minimal use of water in creating garments.
  • Traditional Ajrakh was picked because it is resist-printed, mordanted and dyed in madder and indigo, on both sides of the cloth through a highly complex process comprising almost 30 stages. This ancient celebrated craft of patterning cloth with block prints and natural dyes Ajrakh, with its distinctive combination of geometric and floral designs, is a legacy that continues even today, many thousand years later.

The different elements come together to highlight three separate pieces of the everyday karigar communities adorned with local silver jewellery pieces that speak of Rajasthan’s intricate and diverse collective artistic spirit which has a unique cultural identity because of years of being part of the silk route metropolis.

Chaitanya Raj Singh 1
Yuvraj Chaitanya Raj Singh Bhati
know the craft
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Screenshot 2021-03-29 at 5.07
Pattu Weaving

A popular type of weaving commonly found throughout Rajasthan and some other parts of Western India. Pattu is derived from the local word for thin strips of cloth - patti. This weaving is traditionally used to make blankets and shawls. Usually made from desi/raw wool, these are typically seen in their natural cream colour and/or black and brown.

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Ralli

A traditional product of Jaisalmer, also found in regions in Pakistan, ralli quilts can be embroidered, pieced or appliquéd. Its use of older fabrics makes it an excellent example of recycling. In fact, the name is believed to have been derived from the word ralannu meaning to mix, join or connect.

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Ajrak

A unique form of block printing found in North West South Asia. Typically, ajrak textiles have a large central body made of repetitive block prints and several borders. Indigo and alizarin red dyes play a pivotal role in ajrak designs. In its purest form, natural vegetable dyes are used for colour

Silver Tribal Jewellery

In Rajasthan, both men and women can be seen wearing heavy yet simply crafted pieces of silver jewellery. Multiple styles and designs can be found such as gajra, rakhri, gokhru, jod and many more.

Rali

Ajrak Weaves

Silver Tribal Jewellery

know the craft
Line 7 (1)
Pattu Weaving

A popular type of weaving commonly found throughout Rajasthan and some other parts of Western India. Pattu is derived from the local word for thin strips of cloth - patti. This weaving is traditionally used to make blankets and shawls. Usually made from desi/raw wool, these are typically seen in their natural cream colour and/or black and brown.

Ralli

A traditional product of Jaisalmer, also found in regions in Pakistan, ralli quilts can be embroidered, pieced or appliquéd. Its use of older fabrics makes it an excellent example of recycling. In fact, the name is believed to have been derived from the word ralannu meaning to mix, join or connect.

Ajrak

A unique form of block printing found in North West South Asia. Typically, ajrak textiles have a large central body made of repetitive block prints and several borders. Indigo and alizarin red dyes play a pivotal role in ajrak designs. In its purest form, natural vegetable dyes are used for colour

Silver Tribal Jewellery

In Rajasthan, both men and women can be seen wearing heavy yet simply crafted pieces of silver jewellery. Multiple styles and designs can be found such as gajra, rakhri, gokhru, jod and many more.

Brought to Life at

jaisalmer fort
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The Jaisalmer Fort in Rajasthan is believed to be one of the very few "living forts" in the world, as nearly one-fourth of the old city's population still resides within the fort. Built in 1156 by King Rawal Jaisal, this magnificent fort complex is also known as Sonar Kila ("Golden Fort") for its gleaming golden sandstone walls and buildings.

Brought to Life with

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Conceptualised with support from Santosh Rathi, a 3rd generation textile artist.

royal patronage today
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The royal family have long been supportive of the various communities who practice the highlighted traditional arts and crafts. Under the aegis of The Jaisalmer Fort Palace Museum, the family works with global collaborators to preserve and promote these arts keeping sustainable impact in mind.

The current Crown Prince, Chaitanya Raj Singh Bhati, is involved in various sustainable development projects, ranging from agriculture, education, heritage conservation and restoration and water conservation. With Everest Eco Hemp Private Limited, he is one of the pioneers in industrial hemp cultivation in India and is the founder of Nomh or Natural Organic Material and Hemp, a hemp-based fashion brand. When not working on his hemp clothing range, he helps out in digitising the long, illustrious tradition of folk music from Jaisalmer.

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