Indian textiles lecture series at Te Papa 26-29 September

During the 2019 World of Wearable Art season the Friends of Te Papa is hosting three illustrated lectures by Shani Pillai and Joji Jacob on traditional Indian textiles, their history, their connections and their future. Set over 3 one hour sessions Shani and Joji will explore Indigo dye, ikat weaving and the revitalisation of hand-looms in modern fashion houses.

Sari to Sarong_v4

Colour me Indigo – Thursday 26 September 5pm (Te Marae)

Indigo is an ancient dye that attracted the name ‘Blue Gold’ for its strong performance as a high-value trading commodity in ancient times as it was considered a luxury item. It has been used in many civilisations and was popular in Mayan, Egyptian, Japanese, African and Indian cultures. It still is a star performer in today’s fashion in the form of Shibori, tie-dye fabrics and of course the much-loved denim. There is more to indigo than its dreamy blues. Join us on this multi-media journey to uncover the world of indigo and enjoy some fun and entertaining facts that will make you see indigo in a totally different shade.  Also, enjoy viewing the display of all things Indigo!

Sari to Sarong – Saturday 28 September 2pm (Rangimarie)

What is the common thread that ties India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia? It is the ‘Ikat’ weave. The word ‘Ikat’ means ‘tie’ in both Indonesian and Malaysian languages and refers to the tie and dye weaving technique which has been used for centuries to create beautiful artisanal Ikat handlooms.

This multi-media presentation will take you on a journey from the Ikat saree weaving Indian sub-continent to the sarong or panel ikat weaving traditions of the South East Asian countries and show how they are historically linked since ancient times. You will get to appreciate the different types of ikat that are unique to these countries, the stories they tell and their significance in these cultures. There will be examples of ikat weaves from Thailand, Cambodia, India and Indonesia on display so you can touch and feel them.

Indian Fashion: Old is New – Sunday 29 September 2pm (Rangimarie)

Let us take you on a colourful and breathtaking virtual trip to India to see how Indian fashion (clothes, jewellery and accessories) has evolved over the years and the impact it has on the international fashion houses to this day. More and more Indian designers are embracing the traditional handloom weaves, tie and dye, block printing, embroidery, metal work and other embellishing techniques to create fashion that not only honours the rich heritage but also delivers to the modern senses and palate. In India, while traditional wear is still valued, there is now a growing trend of fusion that is taking the old and giving it an exciting modern twist. This multi-media presentation will visually present gorgeous, stylish Indian fusion wearables that will knock your socks off.

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Shani Pillai is of South Indian heritage and has textiles weaving in her DNA from her father’s side of the family. Her mother tongue is Tamil, she also speaks fluent English, Bahasa Malaysia and understands Cantonese.  Joji Jacob’s origins are in Kerala. He speaks fluent English, Hindi and Malayalam (his mother tongue), understands several Indian languages, and has experienced the cultures of several regions of India due to his father’s varied postings in the Indian Army. Their boutique tour business is fast gaining international recognition, with Chanel Fashion House being their latest client.

They are passionate about their cultural heritage and the traditions and arts passed down through the generations. This was distilled when they learnt of Benarasi brocade weavers committing suicide due to cheap Chinese imports robbing them of their traditional livelihood, it was the catalyst that made them decide to support these communities of artisans. This passion has propelled them to off the beaten track villages in different parts of India, through their Threads of Tradition textiles tours, en route meeting and seeing master textile artisans at work. They support selected community development groups that are helping and inspiring communities to develop and maintain their traditional livelihoods.

To book tickets visit The Friends of Te Papa event page. Tickets include refreshments and free parking at Te Papa.


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