The Registry of Sarees presents Red Lilies, Water Birds — The Saree in Nine Stories, an exhibition at Anegundi, Hampi, curated by Mayank Mansingh Kaul and designed by Reha Sodhi. The exhibition features a selection of 108 sarees and draped garments – narrated through 9 themes – which have been sourced by The Registry of Sarees over the last 5 years. They represent a period of almost a century, from the late 19th to the early 21st, and comprise textiles from some of the most prominent handloom centres of India, including Kanchipuram, Venkatagiri, Chanderi, Paithan, Patan, Varanasi, Murshidabad and Sambalpur.
Unstitched garments have long defined daily life in the Indian subcontinent, and their legacies visibly persist in the enduring and ubiquitous charm of the modern saree. With its identity being associated with “tradition” in South Asia and its different avatars being linked to specialised weaving centres in the region, it has become easy to overlook the range of cultural transmissions that have informed the form and function of the saree today.
Each of the nine stories within the exhibition provokes an examination of such currents, through the colours, patterns, motifs and techniques that divergently characterise their desirability and production in different parts of the country.
All images courtesy of Vijay Bellary.