Heritage Monuments on golden thread - an artistic voyage by Shahid Hussain Ansari

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The symbol of love, Taj Mahal, wouldn’t you feel blissful to have it in your homes in some form or the other? This magnificent monument of white marble has been recreated by many people in varied mediums, but this week city based design lovers have a great opportunity to glance a whole new form of this sheer beauty.

Shahidhussain Ansari, an artisan born in the Radhanpur village of Patan district who has been working with Zardozi and Aari form of design for more than 2 decades now has created beautiful wall mounted embroideries of the Taj and many other monuments of the country to put them on display at the Kanoria Centre for the Arts.

The exhibition started on November 19, 2016, and will be open for art adorers until November 25, 2016. at Gallery 30 of KCA from 11 am to 7 pm. The exhibition coincides with the ‘World Heritage Week’ celebrations across the globe as well as the city.

The marvelous exhibition has on display about 25 historic monuments of the country prepared using zardozi and aari embroidery. One can visualize the real structure of Taj, Parliament House, Red Fort, Golden Temple, Hawa Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, the Darwazas of Ahmedabad by just looking at these wonderful art forms.

Ansari has been working on showcasing the country’s’ monumental heritage for the past 5 years now. His first exhibition depicting the monuments of the city of Ahmedabad was at the Alliance Francaise in 2014. He has continuously been engaged in workshops at National Institute of Design and National Institute of Fashion Technology too.

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In general these embroidery forms are recognized for their presence on clothes and known for their traditional and floral motifs but Mr. Ansari with his Hunnar Art and Craft institution has utilized these design skills create something rather unique and extraordinary. The monuments has embroidered range from those in the city of Ahmedabad to UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country.

Using embroidery to depict monuments was a thorny journey as we learned during the conversation with Mr. Ansari, the selection of shades for depicting particular elements of the monuments is a tricky job; getting the shapes and dimensions of the different architectural elements right requires a precise skill of prediction and of course a lot of hard work too. The 3D effect that one can notice in some of the pieces is not at all an easy thing to accomplish. Mr. Ansari mentioned that he first had a detailed study and research on the embroideries and monuments for 2 years. And one can see that single-minded devotion and dedication in these crafts.

Mr. Ansari is inspired by heritage, and building monuments with intricate carvings, his work is the best way how he can dedicate his love for it. Beautiful facades are recreated by him on cloth in beautiful silken threads.

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Mr. Ansari exclaimed about the dark era of Zardozi and Aari artisan when the advent of machine embroidery left 800-900 artisans without employment. By this endeavor he is attempting to keep the original handwork craft alive. He hopes that the craft spreads to the rest of the country and abroad and people come to know about India’s unique crafts and build heritage through these artworks. He also mentioned that this work is a small attempt to promote the heritage of Ahmedabad and promote the nomination of the city in UNESCO World Heritage status.

Also on display were the tools and raw materials which are required to make these exquisite pieces. It included silk threads, sequins, beads, varied needles and assorted collection of threads like kora, sadi, nakohi.

The artworks are available for collectors to acquire and take home, giving people a chance to display the country’s heritage through a unique way in their homes.

Mr. Ansari mentioned that he plans to do his next exhibition on world monuments. And we heartily hope to see it real soon. We are confident that it will be as exceptional as his current exhibition. Thus we wish him the best in his future endeavors and look forward to track his innovative ideas in our upcoming articles.

Shahid Hussain Ansari

Photographs : Leora Pezarkar and Anshika Jain




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