Crumpled tales: Mumbai’s Jamaat gallery marks 20 yrs with an unusual show

Artist Bandana Jain has recreated mats, saris, sheets and cushion covers on corrugated cardboard in a multisensory exhibition.
Artist Bandana Jain uses corrugated cardboard to recreate childhood memories, with a message of sustainability woven in.
Artist Bandana Jain uses corrugated cardboard to recreate childhood memories, with a message of sustainability woven in.
Published on Jan 12, 2019 07:31 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByMadhusree Ghosh

Fabricated Tales: The Series, works by Bandana Jain

When: January 16 to March 1, 7 pm onwards (Closed on Sundays)

Where: Jamaat Art Gallery, Colaba

Entry is free

Jamaat is turning 20, and their celebratory show breaks the mould in several ways. Pravina Mecklai’s Colaba gallery is hosting a relatively unknown artist, Bandana Jain, at this year’s anniversary exhibition, in a show that features sculptural works made from a very unusual medium — corrugated cardboard.

The mats, saris, sheets and cushion covers carry a strong message of sustainability – a fitting theme for a gallery that has outlasted several in the city.

Fabricated Tales: The Series harks back to Jain’s memories of a childhood spent in a palatial house in Thakurganj, Bihar, about 25 years ago. The works are meant to evoke a time when the women of the house did embroidery together to the sound of a battery-operated transistor.

“Embroidery was a custom of sorts,” says Jain. “Young girls who’d completed school were trained to embroider bedsheets and pillow covers with floral designs. As a bride, she’d eventually take some of these works to her in-laws’ house while leaving some behind with her family as souvenirs.”

The exhibit Unknown Legacy represents an unfinished bedsheet, a nod to the incomplete embroidery projects that would be passed on to siblings or younger relatives when a woman married and left her maternal home.
The exhibit Unknown Legacy represents an unfinished bedsheet, a nod to the incomplete embroidery projects that would be passed on to siblings or younger relatives when a woman married and left her maternal home.

For her show, Jain recreated the embroidered items in corrugated paper. One work, Unknown Legacy, features an unfinished bedsheet. It’s a nod to the partially completed items that would be passed on to siblings or younger relatives, who then completed them. “It happened with me and I am pretty sure it happened with a lot of others too,” Jain says.

The exhibition will also have an audio piece, in which Jain attempts to recreate a scene right out of her memory — the noise utensils make, something falling on the floor, someone whistling and someone constantly calling her name, ‘Aye Bandana, aye Bandana’.

The artist takes a multisensory look at the past, through touch, sound and intangible bits of memory. “I believe most of my audience is above 30, and somewhere along the way, we’ve lost touch with many parts of our lives,” she says. “I want to give back the pleasant feeling of the time when it was all about human interaction.”

For Mecklai, the show is refreshingly different. “The reason Jain’s work was chosen for 20th anniversary was to really indicate that we are in touch with the changing times and are looking at newer and younger artistes,” Mecklai says. “I think it’s time for younger people to get a chance. And Jain really believes in what she is supporting through her work — sustainability. Moreover, her work is exquisite.”

Viewers will doubtless have memories of their own surface as they make their way through the show, perhaps of their own childhoods, and of Jamaat’s shows over two decades as well.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021