Horoscope (natural dyes on cotton cloth)
Ajit Kumar Das
AK Das is a Bengali artist living and working in Santiniketan, home to the university founded by Rabrindranath Tagore. He is at the forefront of both the natural dye movement and of using the traditional craft referred to as kalamkari (derived from the Persian words ghalam (pen) and kari (craftmanship)) in a modern way. There are many symbols from Indian astrology, depicting the artist’s own horoscope. But it is the thousands of Sanskrit words in Bengali script, running in all four directions, which dominate and characterise this piece.
Tarang (natural dyes on cotton cloth)
Ajit Kumar Das
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.
Baburnama Scroll (alcohol – based ink on paper)
Durga Devi Talukdar
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.
Lasting Impressions (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.
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
These 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
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