Where art blends with nature, loomwork
Titled ‘Woven Memoirs: A new kind of nature’, the exhibition pays tribute to the late artist Priya Ravish Mehra, a year after her death, and to her work with the traditional rafoogars or darning craft workers from her hometown in Najibabad, Uttar Pradesh.Updated: Sep 06, 2019, 00:09 IST
Head to the Chemould Prescott Road gallery this month for an exhibition that merges art, loomwork and nature.
Titled ‘Woven Memoirs: A new kind of nature’, the exhibition pays tribute to the late artist Priya Ravish Mehra, a year after her death, and to her work with the traditional rafoogars or darning craft workers from her hometown in Najibabad, Uttar Pradesh.
This community specialises in repairing the trademark Kashmiri jamawar shawls made from pashmina wool.
Mehra, who was also a textile designer, was known for throwing the spotlight on their work through art works on textile and paper — tapestries, paper collages, and works that combined the two — that incorporated fragments of darned weaves, paper pulp and eventually, natural elements such as leaves, seeds and twigs.
“Priya especially fits into our space and narrative right now, considering what is happening in Kashmir today,” says gallerist Shireen Gandhy.
“She used rafoogiri as a metaphor for her own healing too, when she returned to her hometown after sessions of chemotherapy to battle the cancer.”
On display at the exhibition this month are about 60 works, some dating back to the 1980s, when Mehra started her practice as a weaver. She studied at the Royal College of Art in London after graduating from Shantiniketan.
“In her work, you see nature and landscape; you get a sense of trees, valleys and mountains,” says Gandhy. “It embodied her love for nature. She’d pick up seeds, branches, twigs and put them into her paper to create a new kind of nature.”
Gandhy has curated the exhibition herself, arranging by theme works that range in length from about 24 inches to 6ft. “Suppose there is an early textile work or tapestry with a landscape feeling, I’m mixing it up with later work that evokes the same feeling,” she says.
What: Priya Ravish Mehra’s Woven Memoirs: A new kind of nature
Where: Chemould Prescott Road, Fort
When: September 6 to October 1 (closed on Sundays and on September 12)
Entry is free