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‘Belong’ Exhibition by Karishma Swali at India Art Fair

The India Art Fair also serves as a platform for unveiling the school’s artistic collaborations with French-Cameroonian visual artist Barthélémy Toguo and French contemporary artist Eva Jospin, underscoring their collective vision that celebrates the confluence of art and craft to create a new language across interdisciplinary mediums…reports Asian Lite News

Karishma Swali and the Chanakya School of Craft present ‘Belong’ at the India Art Fair in New Delhi from February 1st to 4th, 2024, located in a dedicated area at the heart of the fair at booth I01. 

Derived from the transformative power of nature, belong is a spontaneous immersion into the eternal connection between the human form and the natural world. From this exchange, emerges a fantastical universe, where the interconnectedness between all beings, their inherent nature, and the ecosystems they inhabit come to the fore. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the interconnectedness unfolds, uniting both real and metaphysical worlds. Rendered with a familiarity that transcends space and time, the central figures seamlessly integrate into the landscape, embodying a sense of profound belonging. In doing so, belong prompts contemplation on this eternal connection, reaching into the realms of collective consciousness and an almost unreachable memory. The series features large scale, interdisciplinary handcrafted works and sculptures conceived by Karishma Swali and meticulously handcrafted by the female graduates of Chanakya School of Craft, alongside the master artisans of the Chanakya ateliers.

The intricate interplay of hand-spun yarns and layering techniques, along with micro variations of needlepoint techniques, including couching, bullion knots and the stem stitch, bring to life a layered narrative that honours craft and its role in culture, community and preserving our collective identities. The exhibition also features hand moulded sculptures created with bamboo terracotta and basket weaving techniques, serving as a tribute to the resilient and unyielding spirit of the feminine. 

“Belong is a tribute to the spirit – common to us all, the wonder of nature and the interconnectedness of all life forms. Through this presentation, our endeavour is to honour the profound role craft plays in preserving our collective heritage and nurturing communities.”  says Karishma Swali, Creative Director of Chanakya School of Craft. 

The India Art Fair also serves as a platform for unveiling the school’s artistic collaborations with French-Cameroonian visual artist Barthélémy Toguo and French contemporary artist Eva Jospin, underscoring their collective vision that celebrates the confluence of art and craft to  create a new language across interdisciplinary mediums. 

The French Institute in India — as part of the launch of its Villa Swagatam residency  programme, which encourages exchanges between French artists and Indian craftspeople — the Basu Foundation and Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris New York will be unveiling the installation ‘Water Matters’, the fruit of an original collaboration between the Franco-Cameroonian artist  Barthélémy Toguo, Creative Director Karishma Swali and the artisans of non-profit school and  foundation, the Chanakya School of Craft, based in Mumbai. Presented at the Villa Swagatam booth L02, this installation will reflect a unique dialogue, combining contemporary artistic  practice with a wealth of ancestral knowledge. A 5-metre-long embroidery representing a  man receiving and offering water will be presented in front of a table with a hundred of  engraved bottles filled with water from all over the world. Two other embroideries  representing different animals will frame this installation. The interdisciplinary crafted works  involve the use of raw organic threads and fine needle techniques. Hand-embroidery  techniques such as stem stitch, back stitch, and micro-French knots are employed to achieve  an ink spread similar to that found in the paintings. 

“In India, craft occupies an honoured space, proving to be more unifying in human relationships than even spoken language. Through our artistic collaborations, we aspire to  acknowledge the significance of celebrating communities and their material cultures,  highlighting the integral role craftsmanship plays in conveying our traditional heritage and  our collective identities,” adds Karishma Swali. 

Over the few years, the Chanakya School of Craft has collaborated with renowned French  artist Eva Jospin, known for her mystical cardboard sculptures that intricately detail sections  of forests in bas-relief. The resulting works portray captivating landscapes with architectural  structures, forests, boulders, lianas, and waterfalls.

The graduates from Chanakya School of  Craft dedicated months to bring these intricate landscapes to life, employing over 150  variations of embroidery and utilizing more than 400 shades of organic silk, linen, cotton, and  jute threads. Three works from this artistic collaboration will be presented at the Galleria  Continua booth E04, while two unique creations will be presented at the Chanakya School of  Craft booth. This presentation not only exemplifies their enduring artistic partnership but also  underscores their shared commitment to celebrating craftsmanship across diverse  interdisciplinary mediums. 

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