Regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 November 2023

Whatsup 2

A kantha revivalist stitches her 30-year story 

TT Bureau Published 02.10.16, 12:00 AM

Shamlu Dudeja is all set to celebrate her three-decade-long association with kantha. She picks some career milestones for t2...

 1986: Three artisans take four plain silk saris from me back to their village in Santiniketan to try embellish them with kantha work. 

1987: A visit to the village gives me the vision of empowering the kantha artisans who are producing exquisite needlecraft but living in depleted conditions.

Kantha at Santa Fe

1989: Malika (daughter) helps develop kantha further, this time on salwar-kurta sets. With the support of Shirin Paul, Malika holds her first kantha exhibition at The Park. 

1990: Kantha travels to London. 

1991: I am invited to hold another exhibition at Commonwealth Institute. Kantha throws and stoles are a big hit. 

 1992: Kantha goes to the US. 

SHE workers in villages

1993: Another exhibition is organised at Gandhi Memorial Center (US). Malika’s Kantha Collection & Trading is registered. 

1994: As kantha’s popularity grows, we identify women team leaders to train artisans in their areas. 

1995: SHE (Self Help Enterprise) is formed to bring the community of scattered kantha artisans together. 

1996: Rohit Khosla designs kantha outfits and holds an exhibition at The Oberoi Grand!

Kantha on the Raj Bhavan walls

1997: We take kantha to Tokyo.

1998: The upscale Chiswick (London) hosts an exhibition of kantha canopies, bed spreads and table linen. 

1999: The Nehru Centre, London, invites us for an exhibition. Kantha also enters the fashion hub of Europe: Paris, courtesy Dominique Boukris.

2001: SHE is invited to train prisoners in kantha craft in Chhattisgarh. 

2002: Governor Viren J. Shah orders kantha wall hangings for his office and some guest rooms in the Raj Bhavan. 

2003: We introduce bling to kantha textiles and showcase saris and wedding lehngas at Bridal Asia in Delhi. 

Shamlu Dudeja (centre) with daughter Malika (second from right) at Commonwealth Institute, London

2005: We debut at the annual exhibition of the International Museum of Folk Arts, Santa Fe. This continues till date. 

2006: Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi decorates the large ballroom in Raj Bhavan with kantha panels. 

2010: We’re invited to the International Quilt Week in Yokohama, Japan, where kantha was the only hand-stitched quilt! 

2011: We celebrate the silver anniversary of our kantha revival initiative. 

2012: During her Calcutta visit, Hillary Clinton drops by our kantha stall set up at the Taj Bengal for her group. She buys a Tagore panel to gift chief minister Mamata Banerjee. 

2016: We gear up to celebrate 30 years of our work. On October 3, we will hold a fashion show of kantha work at ITC Sonar. An exhibition of kantha panels and garments will be on at the hotel on October 4 and 5, 11am-7pm.

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