Written by Micael Carvalho
Why is Sar the Essence of Indian Design? – The Indian subcontinent is an amalgamation of peoples, cultures, languages and philosophies. Throughout history Indian culture has been subject to myriad different influences, from the Mughal empire to the British Raj to the now globalized nation in transition. Similar to ‘Wa: Essence of Japanese Design’, this book will trace continuity through the history of Indian design from antiquity to the present day.
The book explores the elements that make Indian design so special, including the varied manufacturing and decorating techniques of the country’s incredibly skilled craftsmen, highly specialized object designs that have been refined over centuries, and ongoing responses to nature, technology, and necessity. The objects were chosen for their enduring quality and beauty, and their integral connection to Indian culture.
Rather than following a chronological order or concentrating on the (often anonymous) designers, this book separates the objects into abstract categories anchored by Hindi words chosen to illuminate how each object fits into the lives of Indians.
Swapnaa Tamhane (b. 1976) is an artist and curator working between Toronto and Mumbai. She was formerly an editor at Phaidon Press and curator at Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and Museum Abteiberg. She has been a recipient of fellowships from Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, and has also received grants from Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and Kunststiftung NRW. Her works have been exhibited at Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and KHOJ, Bangalore.
Rashmi Varma (b. 1974) is a costume and fashion designer with an eponymous clothing line, based in New Delhi. She has exhibited her work at the V&A Museum, London; Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto; and Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto. She has received numerous grants and awards from the Ontario Arts Council and the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute. She has also worked with noted filmmakers such as Deepa Mehta as the costume designer for film ‘Heaven on Earth’ and assisted on ‘Midnight’s Children’.
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