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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Mapu, you will be missed: Design fraternity remembers textile pioneer Martand Singh

On the death of textile revivalist and crafts master Martand Singh, fondly known as Mapu, the design fraternity, among many others, pay tribute to the icon.

fashion-and-trends Updated: Apr 26, 2017 17:40 IST
Snigdha Ahuja
Snigdha Ahuja
Hindustan Times
A file photo of Martand Singh (extreme left) with (clockwise from left) Rta Kapur Chishti, Rahul Jain,  Prasad Bidappa, Vikram Sardesai and Rakesh Thakore.
A file photo of Martand Singh (extreme left) with (clockwise from left) Rta Kapur Chishti, Rahul Jain, Prasad Bidappa, Vikram Sardesai and Rakesh Thakore. (HT Photo)

“In a curious coincidence, the night Mapu passed away, the Hall of Nations at Pragati Maidan, where we had spent so many days and nights in 1972, was bulldozed and demolished by Government order. Both Mapu himself and Raj Rewal’s iconic building were an important part of post-independent India’s cultural heritage, now both gone for ever.... Irretrievable except in our memory,” wrote craft revivalist, Laila Tyabji, in a Facebook post which she titled In Memoriam - Martand Singh. Mapu, as he was fondly known, lived a life away from the limelight in his final years, and after spending two months in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, breathed his last at the age of 70, on Tuesday.

Remembered for championing the cause of the textile, perhaps, his most iconic work remains Vishwakarma. A landmark pan-India exhibition in the early ’80s Vishwakarma put spotlight on Indian weavers and was a turning point in the history of textiles, helmed by cultural activist Pupul Jayakar, with Mapu, its project director.

“Mapu’s passing is a huge irreplaceable Ioss. He symbolised class, he was generous with his knowledge and happily shared it with anyone who approached him for any help. I would constantly turn to him for ideas and advice. He was also a great support when I told him about The Luxury League, an idea he appreciated and we would discuss various possibilities over the phone. He was a pillar of strength and his absence will be felt greatly. He will be missed!!,” says designer Ritu Beri.

The new generation of designers remembers Mapu too. “I had put two of my textile products at Samskara, Made in India Exhibition at the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, as a student. He spent a lot of time there, encouraging and inspiring me to pursue textiles. And, he is one of the main reasons I continue to do so,” says textile designer Tanira Sethi. Many too shared their thoughts on Twitter, remembering the textile wizard and the legacy he has left behind.

First Published: Apr 26, 2017 17:39 IST

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