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Drawn with Thread
Feb. 2009 ] 

Drawn with Thread

Everyday she excavated herself, uncovering the lies of yesterday; in search of that sacred space…

This is not a place or a feeling but a state of being which though experienced remains elusive in the conundrum of city life. The quest is for a certain equipoise that allows me to flow seamlessly despite the fetters and constraints of social integration.

Drawn with thread on fragile organza and chiffon, paired with roughly hewn cotton; dance here, is a metaphor for life. Its grace is an inspiration while it’s disciplined practice an aspiration. The graceful dancer; gliding from one role to the next, one emotion to the next, one tempo to the next, with effortless ease, is evocative of that state of being which I refer to as ‘that sacred space’. Embroidering upon stretched seer-sucker or chiffon, with loosely held, long stitches that distort once the fabric is returned to its original state, characterizes the sense of dysfunction in being which is felt and perceived. There appears to be no code of ethics for contemporary life in the ever-growing, ever-rising metropolises of urban India. Living in this world, adapting to it, has made us fragile but cutting like a knife; our instinctive goodness tempered with large doses of cynicism and distrust. The discomfort is not with the city, but what it does to us, distorting the way we want to be.

I have worked from drawings commenced 15 years ago. During dance performance, sitting in the darkness, unable to see either paper or pencil, compelled me to stop trying to draw, but experience the rhythm. I drew not what I could see but what I felt; sometimes just letting the music and footsteps guide me. I got into the mode of dance; focussing on its transient but flowing essence

The idea of dance has been extended to encompass the physicality of working with needle and thread, where the movement of fingers as they embroider fabric, evokes the rhythm of a choreography rooted in the Indian tradition of hand-crafting. Via the video entitled ‘Re-Thread’, you are invited to re-view hitherto perceived notions of hand-crafting where the artisan is valued merely for his skill in executing the craft. Presenting ‘Textile as Art’ suggests a possible re-definition of the notion of craft where the ancient ideal of the craftsman, performing the dual role of defining the concept with the appropriate skill in the art of making, manifests in a contemporary vein. Through a return to tradition, re-invoking the ancient, stepping back to move ahead is the context of this dance; confronting the challenge of reconciling traditional practices with modern concepts of thinking, where the physicality of doing divulges the truth of our postures of being; in the spirit of the ideal that “movement does not lie”.

Dance in this context is not a performance for entertainment but a journey into the spirit of being, where there is scope for contemplation, for questioning the events of the day, uncovering its lies; observing the mind at work and play. Where, in thus excavating oneself, we discover our very own sacred space.

Gopika Nath
February 2009    


 
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