Behind the Scenes of Vignette: Visvakarma Clothing
Stories of rare Indian textiles and the craftspeople who weave them
In the second episode of MAP’s series Insider’s View, we present a sneak peek into the exhibition, Vignette – Visvakarma Clothing: Art and Artistry.
Born out of a collaboration between the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Bengaluru, this exhibition takes its name from the seminal series of seven Vishwakarma exhibitions held in the 1980s. Presented as part of the Festivals of India and other cultural diplomacy initiatives by the government, these exhibitions presented works from diverse textile traditions across the country. Becoming a focal point in the history of India’s textile industry, they led not only to greater awareness and interest in traditional Indian textiles but also the revival of several weaver communities. Bringing this history to life and the forefront once more, in 2022, Vignette – Visvakarma Clothing: Art and Artistry brought together 25 textiles that featured in the original Vishwakarma exhibitions.
The virtual walkthrough, led by NIFT Bengaluru’s Director, Susan Thomas, explores the idea behind this revisiting, and sheds light on the creativity and craftsmanship of weavers across India, over several decades. Viewers will witness the exceptional attention to detail, innovative techniques, and the grandeur of Indian textiles.
MAP’s series, Insider’s View, takes you behind-the-scenes to explore the journeys of exhibitions, collections and programmes that inspire, engage and provoke curiosity. Through these guided walkthroughs, viewers can travel virtually to a range of diverse institutions and enjoy an exclusive peek behind the curtain as arts and museum professionals share funny anecdotes, rewarding experiences, and significant challenges in the conceptualisation, development and realisation of the projects in focus.
Susan ThomasDirector, NIFT Bengaluru
Susan Thomas is the Director of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Bengaluru. An IRS officer of the 2001 batch, she is an alumna of JNU, New Delhi and the University of Oxford. She worked with the Income Tax Department in the Ministry of Finance for 17 years before moving on deputation to the Ministry of Textiles. A three-time TedX speaker, she was recently picked by Shethepeopletv in their list of 40 under 40 for her content on Instagram shattering gender myths and stereotypes. She was also picked by Elle India for her social media content that covers handcraft, textiles and gender. She is a handloom buff and curated the first ever Bengaluru handloom Fest, BLOOM in August 2021.