Gurgaon-based visual artist Shelly Jyoti’s artistic engagement with Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of swadharma, swaraj and swade
In the current show, Jyoti uses khadi both as a symbol and as a material that expresses qualities of self-purification, self-reliance and independence. The exhibition, designed to be really a study for those who want to understand what the khadi
For her artworks, Jyoti has worked extensively with 10th generation Ajrakh textile artisans based in Bhuj, Gujarat. Utilising printing blocks that are two to three hunderd years old, Jyoti’sindividual pieces draw attention to a shared history whose preservation is currently threatened by the forces of globalization. “The khadi
She also uses the traditional running stitch from West Bengal called kantha in her textile artworks to explore the creative space of women of Bengal who have migrated to Delhi and NCR in last one decade. She notes: “I engage these women to give them small jobs and explore their inherent talent. Running stitch has also a decorative and aesthetic appeal.”
The featured works include several khadi site-specific installations, 20 Ajrakh textile artworks, a multi-media spoken poetry art and a documentary of Ajrakh textile process. The Yarn Wheel, for instance, is a site-specific installation made up of 1000 bunches of handspun cotton yarncapturing the meditative process of the spinning wheel in stark contrast to machine made thread, while Connecting Gandhi’s Nation is made up of Contemporary Blouses, Ajrakh Gandhi caps, Ajrakh stoles, Sculptured buttons and Ajrakh
“I am exploring the role of clothing as a movement for social change. I am trying to explore the idea of khadi as a visual expression of national identity and also as a commodity in 21st century to give spinners and weavers a more organized source of livelihood,” she says.
The idea of consumption of hand-woven handspun cloth by urban people is to establish connect between urban and rural brethren. Among the Ajrakh textile artworks, there are wall pieces titled Lend A Hand (a diptych work exploring the idea for lending support to weavers and artisans in rural India), Timeless Silhouettes: