After a successful season at RMIT Gallery this year, Unfolding: New Indian Textiles, the glorious Indian textile exhibition curated by Maggie Baxter opens on Friday 31 July at Fremantle Arts Centre in Western Australia.
Indian textiles are world-famous for being exquisite, handmade and finely crafted. They represent a compelling aesthetic with deep roots and profound cultural meaning. Unfolding: New Indian Textiles is an elegant exhibition which highlights the supreme craftsmanship and beauty of work by contemporary Indian textile designers and artists, drawing on these traditions.
RMIT Gallery Acting Director Helen Rayment will be flying across Australia to the opening. Ms Rayment worked as Exhibition Coordinator on Unfolding, travelling to India for RMIT Gallery earlier this year to consolidate all the exhibits and visit the artists and designers.
“When preparing all the exhibits for freight I had the pleasure of visiting all the studios and design houses in Delhi and Mumbai and meeting all the incredible, talented people involved in the project,” she said.
The exhibition features saris, uncut cloth and street wear, and examines the ways in which the traditional skills, motifs and production methods, developed over centuries, and are evolving in light of international influences and modern technologies. Designers such as Himanshu Dogra of Play Clan use traditional motifs and images from Indian storytelling updated with digital technology in stunning, brightly colored saris and homewares.
The exhibition at RMIT Gallery was launched on 26 March by Ms Manika Jain, the Acting High commissioner of India, and featured a public program with visiting artists Himanshu Dogra (Play Clan), Parul Thaker (visual artist) and Bappaditya Biswas (bai lou). Bappditya will also be appearing as a guest at the exhibition launch of Unfolding in Perth, where the exhibition runs from Exhibition Runs Sat 1 August – Sat 19 September.
RMIT Gallery opening of Unfolding with (left to right) visual artist Parul Thaker, curator Maggie Baxter, designer Dhruti Dogra (play Clan), RMIT Gallery Exhibition Coordinator Helen Rayment, designer bappaditya Biswas (bai lou) and designer Himanshu Dogra (Play Clan). Image: Vicki Jones Photography.
Maggie Baxter has an intimate connection with fine Indian textile makers for 25 years. Ms Rayment said she met her while working in India with RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies on the RMIT Gallery exhibition Kindness: Udarta in 2011.
“That’s where Maggie first told us about her interest in documenting contemporary Indian textiles, which Ms Davies encouraged her to develop into an exhibition at RMIT Gallery. It was wonderful to help Maggie realise that project, and then see her book on contemporary Indian textiles subsequently launched at the opening of Unfolding at RMIT Gallery.”
The Fremantle Arts Centre exhibition coincides with the WA launch of Maggie Baxter’s book Unfolding: Contemporary Indian Textiles. The book is available to purchase from FOUND at Fremantle Arts Centre.
Maggie Baxter works in Perth as a public arts coordinator and is a textile artist as well as a curator. Her textile work is tightly entwined with the connection she has had with India since her first visit in 1990. Her fist solo exhibition in New Delhi at the Visual Arts Gallery won her the award for the Best Design and Craft Show 2004. Her pieces employ weaving, block-printing and embroidery to create work that can satisfy both two and three dimensional forms.
Under the leadership of Suzanne Davies, RMIT Gallery has developed a unique transcultural relationship with India. A Board member and Chair of the Australia-India Council, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2004 – 2012), Ms Davies has worked creating cultural opportunities and strategic partnerships for RMIT University across India for more than a decade.