Kids Corner


Vibrant Threads Weave Magic at Mela Phulkari





Having familiarised Delhiites with the history and significance of Phulkari in its last edition, ‘Mela Phulkari’ is back this year.

Though the aim to celebrate the rich tradition of the phulkari fabric is still intact, yet the exhibition makes use of this fabric to narrate the entire history and define the vibrant culture of the land from where it originates.

Five potted plants at the entrance of Open Palm Court (gallery) bear the names of the five rivers that constitute the land of Punjab. As visitors step inside, a colourful array of installations welcome all.

“Last time we had to tell people about the craft of Punjab – phulkari. But now, since the people had seen it all, we decided to present it in a different manner. This is why we invited artists to create and let us showcase their interpretations of phulkari,” says Kirandeep Kaur from ‘Concept 1469‘.

The exhibits ‘Milkpot on Cycle’ and ‘Faridkot’ by Harinder Singh (creative head of 1469), ‘Antique Juttis’ by Mala Singh Dayal and ‘Darwaaze di Mehak’ by Anupa Dasgupta are examples of similar products showcased differently.

Kirandeep elucidates that they “would have used some 20 odd dolus last year whereas this time there are just three dolus. Atop the cycle in the centre of the gallery, these symbolize the milk seller who used to make early morning rounds delivering milk to households.”

Among these 13 installations, with phulkari shawls draped on bamboo sticks, is a conglomeration of a village panchayat that has gathered to discuss an issue.

Titled ‘Stiches of Identity’, the artwork by Anupa Dasgupta, depicts the realties of agrarian Punjab and its current challenges. The ‘Phulkari baaghs’ denote the prosperous and fruitful agriculture while the mannequins are styled as despairing farmers who are roped in grief. The vibrant hues of phulkari translate the despair into joy.

Another installation, ‘Doli’ (palanquin) by NIFT, Mohali, takes its inspiration from the bridal textile and is decorated with traditional motifs of phulkari and other bridal finery.

A miniature truck and a huge handcart filled with vibrant handicrafts grab instant attention. While the truck has a mention of the film, ‘Highway’, the handcart doubles up as a shelf to exhibit the colourful hand fans, bags, umbrellas and everything possible.

“We want to make phulkari the fashion statement in contemporary times and even have printed stoles in the phulkari pattern,” says Kirandeep, adding that their focus has not shifted from the fabric. Instead, it has expanded to encapsulate the craft that is done in every home of Punjab alongside the onus of resurrecting the old Punjab in modern Delhi. 

There are a lot of unexpected elements in each of the artwork that make up the colourful exhibition. Yet, instead of looking mismatched and out of place, each finds its own space and garners attention in this garden of colours. 

As kites and umbrellas hang from the ceiling, young visitors enjoy taking pictures in this mini-Punjab created in the Capital as the harbinger of Vaisakhi.


Mela Phulkari II’ at Open Palm Court, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India, is on till Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

[Courtesy: Deccan Herald. Edited for]
April 7, 2015

Conversation about this article

1: Dya Singh (Australia ), April 08, 2015, 3:29 PM.

All the very best for Mela Phulkari. Remember that now you do not just represent Punjabiyat from the Five Rivers of Punjab, but the Punjabiyat from the five land masses (continents) of this planet. We pardesi Punjabis too need to be part of such initiatives.

2: Kirandeep Kaur (New Delhi, India), April 12, 2015, 2:10 PM.

Dya ji, you already are part of it. Your shot essay appears in the book we released on the occassion of Mela Phlkari 2. Not just you but Harinder Singh of SikhRI and Parveen Kaur Dhillon have their pieces too. We totally agree that the Punjabi Diaspora is a big part of the bigger picture of Panjabiyat. Hoping to have your wishes and cooperation always in our endeavour called 1469.

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