Every quilt on display at AIFACS gallery in Delhi hides within its frame heart-rending tales. Lalitha Rajan and Prabha Mathew’s Anamika — We Too, for instance, has a group of rural women with their heads covered, carrying produce from farms and buckets of water. The duo note that the quilt is a tribute to the village women, whose unpaid labour to ensure the smooth running of their household often goes unnoticed.
This is one of the 18 award-winning quilts travelling the country in the exhibition “Threads That Bind”. Competing at the India Quilt Festival 2019 in Chennai — the first quilting festival in India founded by quilting enthusiasts Varsha Sundararajan, Deepa Vasudevan and Tina Katwal — these are testament to how the art of quilting involves the use of needles, threads, cotton, embellishments and cutting equipments. Sundararajan says, “The aim is to create awareness about the art of quilting. It’s a billion dollar industry in the US. Every town in America has a quilt festival every year. Our objective is to promote allied industries that feed into the making of quilts.”
While Sundararajan notes that India probably has the oldest quilting tradition, these are broadly divided into categories of traditional, modern and art. In the exhibition is Ritu Sudharshan’s design that combines patch blocks and appliqué blocks. Titled Sweet Treats, it is a tribute to her love for baking. It features motifs of muffins and donuts. The national bird of India, peacock, is the theme for Chitra Mandanna, as she depicts its magnificent beauty. Winner of the Viewer’s Choice Award, Mandanna’s other piece, named Animal Whisperer, brings out the trait of compassion, which she witnessed in her two-year-old daughter, when she offered her bananas to a cow in Coorg. Marline Turner from South Africa renders her fascination for the classic blue and white patterns of China pottery and Yan Liu from Canada recreates the famous Gustav Klimt painting The Lady in Gold.
The exhibition is on till October 15.