This August marked 70 years since the largest mass migration of India Pakistan in 1947. Godrej one organised this beautiful exhibit which was all about remembering partition in memory of that day. The 3 day event saw a lot of discussions, screenings, performances and exhibit all around partition.
The first thing that caught my eye when I went for this exhibit was a saree hanging from the ceiling going into a well like structure below. Went closer to understand what exactly was it. It depicted the time when women jumped in wells to end their lives or were forced to do so to evade the horrors afflicted on them during 1947 partition.
Then went inside for the discussion taking place about understanding partition and that era.
I then moved on to take a look at the exhibit of things from that time. It was a beautiful exhibit where we got to see the things ppl preserved since the time of partition, and preserved them so well. Not just things, even diaries and journals were preserved as memories.
Next part I came to was the exhibit of 7 different outfits, designed by 7 top designers depicting partition. Each outfit had it’s own story. Nonita Kalra, editor Harper’s bazaar took us thru the designs –
1. Tarun Tahiliani-
A multiple layer outfit with ajrak printed petticoat and blouse, covered with Muslim drape and finished with see thru burkha with a crochet cap. Lot of sindhi women adorned this during partition to hide the fact that they were Hindu. The beauty of this design is, to represent partition, the drapes are tattered, the saree was burnt in few places and thrown in dust to give it the final worn out look.
2. Shantanu and Nikhil
Their design was from the perspective of a powerful and strong modern woman and the strength she reinforces with long structured jacket with Nehru collar and braiding. The way the modern woman uses ethos of armed forces to shield herself from the world.
3. Abraham and Thakore-
Beautifully handspun and handwoven khadi in ivory, crimson and black (suoer soft to touch). Fabric tears seek to convey a sense of displacement and the violence as a dominant form of expression of power, dotted with kantha by unsecured strands to illustrate the loss of control n honour.
4. Narendra Kumar Ahmed
This garment told the story of hope. The only backdrop is embroidered with red to show the scars left behind by bloodshed. The embroidered gold and white Tsuru cranes symbolize goodluck and freedom. Loved the idea and the outfit for a modern day wear.
5. Rajesh Pratap Singh
Was awed and absolutely in love with this masterpiece. A black saari with blood red border referencing the darkest period in our history. The saree is silk woven with stainless steel which makes it look like crushed or trampled. The stainless steel represents the strength of women who were made to experience such horrors. Though representing the saddest time I’m absolutely in love with this design and the idea of using steel to represent strength; love it.
Known for their intricate designs and finer taste, they depicted partition from the angle of uprooted families scrambling to hold on to their finery, wearing it in all layers, covering anguish with dignity. Sabyasachi at it’s best.
7. JJ Valaya
Multiple cylindrical forms that resemble women’s bangles, seem to disappear into a grey abyss, the wells that so many women jumped into to save their integrity and dignity. What a thinking!!
Truly an amazing exhibit.