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Below: The creators - Kirandeep Kaur and Harinder Singh.


Mela Phulkari III
Vaisakhi 2016





The Indian capital, being Punjabi by nature, is well-versed with the multiple facets of Sikh and Punjabi culture, music, craft and food that influence trends and the way of life here.

But, there are aspects of rural life in Punjab that seem to be forgotten in the urban scenario. To revive these elements that are synonymous with Punjab, and to celebrate the spirit of its people, Concept 1469 and art historian Alka Pande have come together to organise the third edition of ‘Mela Phulkari: Threads of Punjab’.

The show at the Open Palm Court, India Habitat Centre, has been put together by Kirandeep Kaur and Harinder Singh of Concept 1469, along with Dr. Pande, who collaborated with artists, designers, photographers and craftsmen.

Mela Phulkari III once again uses phulkari as a pivot to reinterpret stories about Punjab. Phulkari is a tool which signifies various connotations, past and present, of Punjab.

The art of Phulkari is also a metaphor for women empowerment, social bonding, narratives of life, tributes to Punjab's institutions, movements and heroes, places and people. For example, it shows - explains Kirandeep - the inclusiveness of family bonding, primarily amongst women, through the various elements of the tambu (tent) created with baaghs.

Similarly, ‘khulla sher’ is a collaborative effort where women in Sangrur are encouraged to create embroidered patches, their interpretations of Punjab, through motifs as well as poetry.

Kirandeep continues: In the first Mela Phulkari, the ‘1469’ project introduced the rich craft of phulkari-making in Punjab to the audience. Next, it showcased Punjab and its essentials, phulkari art being one of them.

In the second annual mela, ‘1469’ started a thread of collaboration with other designers and design students.

Mela III is a continuation of this effort. This year, the project has even more people working on Punjab, again through the common thread of phulkari.

Thus each Mela Phulkari edition is a stepping stone for the next. Kirandeep, Harinder and their colleagues pave paths not only to tell stories but to create new grounds for the next mela.

Speaking about the event, curator Alka Pande says: “Mela Phulkari is a concept that celebrates the creative energy of Punjab. It has particular focus on the craft traditions, which reveal the gender identity and politics of the women of Punjab.”

“The idea is to take the brand of Phulkari to another level. The socio-cultural fabric of the State, the vibrancy, the myths and legends, stories of women, and the complexity of a woman’s dreams in rural Punjab - which are being transformed through the rapid economics of development - are on display,” she added.

This year’s Mela Phulkari vividly showcases the daily life through installations that offer a contemporary peek into the glamorous State. The cultural extravaganza will also host a series of book releases, talks, performances and demonstrations throughout the week, to bring back a blast of traditional Punjabi lifestyle, art and culture to the country’s capital.

Exhibits and installations include:

Khulla Sher: Sangrur Futures - Woman embroiderers of Building Bridges, Sangrur” by Rupinder Kaur, Rajvinder Kaur, Kiranpal Kaur, Veerpal Kaur, Sandeep Kaur and team.

Trinjan Tambu” by Harinder Singh, Amrita Mahindra and Simran Kharbanda.

Gadh jorh” by Harinder Singh.

A photo collage, “A Song on their Lips and a Needle to Thread”, by Gopika Nath. 

Photographer Bandeep Singh’s iconic photograph of women at work in Sangrur, creating a colourful Phulkari.

Guddi Da Panghuda” by Gunroop Kaur, Mallika Singh and Vikram Singh.

Jugni - Havaa Di Udaari” by Meghna Chowdhary, Srishty Bahl, Sushmita Mandal and Mansi Sharma.

Laddo Rani di Gaddi” by Chesta Nagar, Irum Khan, Neha Singla, Pranvi Kapoora and Shubhangi Chowdhary.

Harinder Singh, Creative Director of ‘1469‘, says Mela Phulkari is an experience which identifies, accepts and critiques Punjab’s past and the current socio-cultural stories.

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The mela will be on till April 17, 2016 daily between 10 am and 8 pm at the India Habitat Center.

A special event is slated for April 16 with film-maker Imtiaz Ali scheduled to talk about Mela Phulkari through his cinema, besides traditional performers from the hinterland of Punjab.

[Courtesy: The Hindu Newspaper. Edited for]
April 12, 2016


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Vaisakhi 2016"

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