MAP’s Online exhibition unfolds into a dialogue between interpretations of 19th and 20th century quilting techniques of kantha with modern and contemporary artists who provide visibility to its practice.
To illustrate the overarching theme of the exhibition – of looking at the artistic practice of making cloth and fostering a sense of community and togetherness as an aspect of women’s labour – we draw a connection between textiles, paintings and sculptures through motifs, makers, patterns and techniques.
With audio recordings as a key feature of the exhibition, we ask questions about 19th and 20th century kanthas and the many lives they led before entering a museum space. Kanthas of Undivided Bengal explore repurposing techniques and these techniques often leave an imprint on artists who grew up around it. This exhibition as a starting point explores motifs but also how the kantha stitch appears, re-appears and then disappears in the work of modern artists like Meera Mukherjee, Jyoti Bhatt and Arpita Singh. Contemporary artist Bhasha Chakrabarti’s quilts provide a personal story of her relationship with her mother while challenging the histories of kantha.
This exhibition is the first of four series of exhibitions over the course of 2 years which will highlight cloth or textile as a medium of storytelling. Our future exhibitions will unravel narratives of trade, labour, globalisation, colonialism, feminism, thrift and intimacy. The aim of the series is to connect MAP’s permanent collection of textiles, paintings, sculpture and photography with contemporary artists and perspectives.
To go through the entire exhibition will take you about 30 minutes.
Disclaimer: This exhibition contains nudity.
Kantha with kalkas, Made in Undivided Bengal, c. 19th century
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