The gates of the 100-year-old Shanti Sadan in Ahmedabad have reopened with textile designer Jayshree Poddar’s exhibition. Based on the phases of the moon, the show is a multi-sensory experience, all aspects of which have been designed by the NID alumnus.
To Jayshree Poddar, “fabric is nothing lesser than an art medium.” On the opening of her third solo exhibition Many Moons, the design director of Himatsingka Seide textile factory in Bengaluru explained to me, “I felt more like a textile sculptor rather than a designer while preparing for this exhibition.” Gira Sarabhai, the sister of textile tycoon Gautam Sarabhai, invited Poddar to showcase her textile artworks. The two have been friends since 20 years. All of the artworks are themed around the various phases of the moon and have have been produced from more than 100 metres of cloth.
Jayshree Poddar, an NID alumnus who currently resides in Bangalore, has been designing textile for more than 30 years now. Not only have the depictions of the moon on cloth been ideated by Poddar herself, but also the overall ambience of the exhibition. There is care given to every detail, from the floral smell that has been organically infused into the fabrics during their preparation, to the dim yellow light that is appropriately placed to focus on every objet d’art. Even the soulful instrumental music in the background, which amplifies the ‘lunar’ feel of the show, and the fish swimming in metal bowls, are ideas of Poddar. “I wanted my audience to indulge in a multi-sensory adventure,” she explained. “I wanted them to experience the show through taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight.”
The yarns used by the artist have been placed in a separate room for all to touch and feel; and so has Poddar’s book Many Moons, which was launched on the show’s inaugural day on September 26 in the presence of the Who’s Who of Ahmedabad.
This is the first-ever public exhibition by Jayshree Poddar. Her previous exhibition, based on the theme of Hanumana, was only exhibited privately. Head to Shanti Sadan anytime between 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM to check out Poddar’s Many Moons before they all wane on October 3.
Poddar’s exhibition is on display at the time-honoured edifice of Shanti Sadan in Ambalal Sarabhai Enterprises, which has re-opened with this show. It may interest you to know that the 118-year-old Shanti Sadan building holds a significant place in the history of India. During the pre-independence era, it served as the residence of Anasuya Sarabhai, a pioneer of the women’s labour movement. The premises served as a meeting place during the two major mill labourers’ strikes of 1914 and 1918, with Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Tagore frequently visiting the place to meet with Anasuya Sarabhai. Made in a Victorian style of architecture, the Shanti Sadan is located in the heart of Ahmedabad in Mirzapur, which is a bustling automobile market, and yet retains a tranquil atmosphere, shielded from the noise by its green cover.
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