A special exhibition entitled ‘Land of Woven Dreams’ in London marked India’s 8th National Handloom Day as part of a wider set of events to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence in the UK.
The exhibition, which launched at India House over the weekend and concluded this week, was a collaborative effort between the Indian High Commission in London and Handloom Export Promotion Council of India. to the UK, Sujit Ghosh, spoke of the rich and sustainable heritage of Indian handlooms and their positive impact on India’s economy at the inauguration of the exhibition.
Ghosh said: “The rich and diverse textile and handloom traditions of India are a product of the incredible imagination and creativity of India’s talented weavers and designers.
“Indian handlooms employ sustainable weaving practices and organic dyes are thus eco-friendly. Handlooms are also a sector that generates employment opportunities for women and thus contribute to their empowerment. Government of India is striving to protect India’s handloom heritage, promote craft literacy, empower handloom and workers and showcase their exquisite craftsmanship.”
Susan Thomas, Director of the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bengaluru; Couture Designer Vaishali S.; Eiluned Edwards, Professor, School of Art and Design, Nottingham University; and Elizabeth Ashdown, Associate Lecturer, Central St. Martins College, London; reflected upon the “Role and Relevance of Handlooms in the future of Fashion Industry” to mark National Handloom Day, which is celebrated in India and around the world annually on August 7. A live weaving demonstration and glimpses of handloom displays curated by National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bengaluru, were among the other highlights over the weekend.
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The panellists discussed the importance of preserving India's handloom traditions, their evolution over time and contribution to sustainable fashion. A thematic performance by Sanskriti Institute and a flute recital concluded the launch event for the exhibition at Montcalm Hotel in London.
In India, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry; Consumer Affairs; Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, , stressed the need to connect weavers and artisans with a greater clientele of both domestic as well as International customers.
He highlighted the need for “quality, consistency, and selective use of technology” to reduce drudgery without compromising the basic character of handlooms. Describing as the biggest Brand Ambassador of Art and Crafts made in India, the senior minister pointed out the preferred choice of gifts for foreign dignatories and during international visits being Made in India handloom and handicraft items.