The Fashion Design Department of Chitkara Design School, Chitkara University, marked National Handloom Day with a two-day celebration that offered a vibrant showcase of India’s rich handcrafted heritage. The event featured engaging activities, highlighting the intricate artistry and cultural significance of Indian handlooms.
The main attractions of the celebration were two events: the first, an Exhibition titled “Handcrafted Heritage of India,” took place at the Plato Hall, Glass Facade Gallery. This exhibition was a visual journey into the world of India’s handloom traditions. Attendees were treated to a captivating display of handcrafted textiles and artefacts, offering insights into the nation’s diverse cultural heritage. The exhibition was graced by Sunetra Lahiri, a distinguished Craftsperson and Designer and recipient of the National Award hailing from Kolkata. Sunetra Lahiri graced the event by showcasing her exceptional creations but also enriched the experience through a live demonstration and a captivating walk-through of her intricate artistic process.
The second event was a Symposium on the Heritage of Indian Handlooms. Esteemed speakers from across the nation graced the occasion, sharing their profound expertise and insights into the realm of Indian handlooms. Distinguished personalities included Gaurav Jai Gupta, Founder of Akaaro, New Delhi; Lavina Baldota, Head of CSR at Baldota Foundation, Mumbai; Sunetra Lahiri, National Awardee Craftsperson and Designer, Kolkata; and Sukhdeep Kaur, representing Naaz Hand Knotting NGO, Patiala. The symposium served as a platform for these luminaries to delve into the nuances of Indian handlooms and crafts. Attendees, including students and faculty members, gained valuable insights into the heritage and techniques of India’s artistic legacy.
The university supports local handcrafted businesses, as exemplified by the showcasing and sale of Macramé and Hand Knitting creations by Sukhdeep Kaur. The event featured an immensely interactive demonstration and workshop involving the beloved “bibis,” a term of endearment coined by the students, who engaged in an immersive learning journey with these skilled artisans during the summer. This interaction was part of their craft documentation project, wherein they had the privilege of closely studying and documenting the craftsmanship. Among the noteworthy artisans were Manjeet Kaur and Nirmal Kaur, known as the “Manji Makers of Punjab,” who shared their expertise through engaging interactions.
The event also highlighted an ongoing Craft Documentation Project, with focus on three major crafts: Manjas of Punjab, Pattu weaving of Himachal, and the intricate Chamba Rumal embroidery, known for its reversible patterns. These crafts were not only presented through textual documentation but also through actual products, allowing students and attendees to fully immerse themselves by observing and appreciating the crafts up close. The culmination of these experiences was encapsulated in a video that showcased the students’ firsthand encounters and insights, adding an extra layer of depth to the event.
A thought-provoking Panel Discussion GenZ for Indian Heritage, brought together Fashion Design students for an exploration of design interventions aimed at safeguarding India’s rich craft heritage. The discussion unveiled relatable and captivating examples, igniting a vision for a brighter future that integrates India’s cultural heritage.
The much-anticipated moment was the announcement of the winners of the National Level Student Competition, SOAR. The competition received enthusiastic responses from colleges across India, featuring a diverse range of submissions, including infographic poster designs and engaging reels. These entries aimed to raise awareness about India’s rich heritage of crafts and textiles. The winning entries were showcased inspiring attendees and fostering interest in the forthcoming editions of SOAR.
The symposium culminated with a collective pledge to uphold India’s intricate craft heritage through innovative design interventions. Attendees echoed their commitment to celebrating and preserving this legacy, ensuring its timeless brilliance in the modern world.
Dr. Archana Mantri, Vice Chancellor, Chitkara University, expressed her satisfaction with the event’s success and underscored the significance of nurturing and sustaining India’s artistic heritage through collaborative endeavours.