Rasi Chakra, Ajit Kumar Das

Natural dyes on hand-woven Bengali cotton cloth

Ajit Kumar Das lives and works near Shantiniketan, where the Indian Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore established what became a national university. Das works in the form known as kalamkari, derived from the words ‘kalam’, which means ‘pen’ in Telugu, and ‘kari’, which means “craftsmanship”. The ‘pen’ is a bamboo stylus with a jute wick and Das makes his own natural dyes. Das’ work has moved this form beyond craftsmanship into art and the Victoria & Albert Museum has four of his works in their permanent collection.

Rasi Chakra is the artist’s own horoscope and its outstanding feature is the thousands of Sanskrit words transliterated into Bengali.

ajitkumardas kalamkadi 2005 2 copy

Tarang, Ajit Kumar Das

Natural dyes on hand-woven Bengali cloth

Tarang is AK Das’ representation of the lotus flower (the national flower of both India and Bangladesh), a potent symbol for Hindus and Buddhists as the flower arises out of mud and yet the bloom is pure and beautiful. Das also made the design for our menu folders based on this piece.


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Sun Rays, Sian Lester

Suede and leather triptych

Sian Lester is a textile artist and designer and is a graduate of the Chelsea School of Art and Design. She has lived in Malaysia and India and the suede and leather triptychs by her were inspired by the forms and colours of AK Das’ Horoscope. She may be contacted at Sian_lester@hotmail.com.

suns rays use this crop please

Lasting Impressions

Kate Pritchard, Ceramic installation on board

This work was inspired by the culture, spices and one of the key staples of Indian cooking, rice. The indelible mark of moment in time, left in ones’ memory, was an aspect of the rationale behind using clay, and a vehicle to manifest the physical form of spices and rice into the actual work.

After a visit to India at Christmas the work was further enhanced by a new colour pallet and visual references, after realising how vibrant and diverse the country actually is.

The title also refers to what one experiences in life after new and rewarding encounters; and in this instance the lingering taste of a memorable Indian meal.



Baburnama Scroll

Durga Devi Talukdar – alcohol-based ink on paper

The scroll illustrates a few key scenes in the life of the first Mughal Emperor, Babur, as described in the Baburnama, his autobiography. The work begins in 1494, presenting Babur at age 12, when he is proclaimed King after his father’s death. The Baburnama Scroll displays his love of gardens and nature, epitomises the hardships that he encountered and finishes with  victory in his 20-year campaign to conquer India at the battle of Panipat, less than four years before his death.


Honor Oak x Babur

Matt McGuinness – emulsion on concrete beams

In this 45 meter-long mural adjacent to the restaurant, Matt has used curving text to give a walking rhythm to this mural on little-known facts about spices (nutmeg is part of the formula for Chanel No.5) and George Orwell’s famous lament about the lack of monuments to food heroes.


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