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Glimpse of British Museum Events

Saree Draping and Henna painting

British Museum Great Hall - Drop in sessions

Make and take craft activity

British Museum Great Hall - Drop in sessions

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Storytelling session by Debbie Gunaratne

British Museum Gallery 33

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Dance performances by Subrang Arts and Neasden Temple

British Museum Great Court

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Sitar performance by Debipriya Sircar and Pandit Sanju Sahai Tabla

British Museum Gallery 33

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Subrang Arts ladies perform AAVI TARE MANDIRIYE dance

British Musem Gallery 33


Exhibition Launch Performance

Bead-weaving workshop

Beadweaving (Motibharat) is a traditional art of Gujarat. Dating back to thousands of years, this is a strong living tradition practised by numerous communities in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat.
It is practised in Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Amreli, Junagadh, Ahmedabad, Vadodara together with many tribal communities like Rathwa, Bhils of Chhota Udaipur, and Panchmahal districts.
Numerous items like wall hangings (torans), key chains, purses, table mats, vase coverings, bracelets, anklets, armlets, earrings, headbands are made from beads.
These art pieces are used to decorate Saurashtra’s durbar halls and Rajput houses.
Beadweaver Nayna Chhatralia who hails from Saurashtra conducted workshops at Brent museum

Family art and craft workshop

Gujarati traditional attire is well known internationally. The dress is styled with vibrant colour and intricate embroidery work. The impeccable designs of Kutch embroidery is a tribute to Rabaris, a nomadic tribe that crafted the art of Kutch embroidery
Kutch embroidery is mainly done in colours such as Green, Ivory, Indigo, Black, Deep red, Yellow, and Off-White. This embroidery is also influenced by romantic motifs as well as patterns of human figurines in dancing poses and dancing peacocks too. A lot of motifs are also inspired by Persian and Mughal arts that are inspired by animals.

Children enjoyed working to decorate Garba costumes and learned this craft tradition. 

Block-printing workshop

Block Printing is another traditional fabric printing technique of Gujarat. It is done with superbly carved wooden blocks of various patterns. Gujarati hand block prints are captivating with their bright colours. This art of hand block printing is passed from one generation to another. Block printing thrives in Kutch where traditional artisans still keep this practice alive.

Motifs vary from geometrical to different types of floral designs as well as birds, animals, dancing girls, musicians, mango patterns. The other well-known centres for block printing in Gujarat are Bhavnagar, Vasna, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Jetpur and Porbandar.

Jigisha Patel and Sheena Patel conducted workshops at the Brent museum.

Mirror-work embroidery

For this workshop women from London joined in Brent Museum.

For the mirror embroidery, known as sheesha and abhala-bharat embroidery,  Gujarati women took inspiration from romantic, architectural, human motifs as well as Persian and Mughal art. Small pieces of mirrors cut in round or diamond shapes are hand-stitched with bright-coloured thread to decorate all kinds of dresses, Chaniya Choli, blouses, bed sheets, table cloth, wall hangings, handbags.  Vibrant colours, mirrors, flowers, birds, peacocks, elephants, and dancers – all form part of the rich tradition of Gujarati embroidery.

Intricate mirror embroidery work has gathered attention in the modern world for its intricate pattern and aesthetic perfection. Therefore today one can find these creations embellished in contemporary dresses as well as in traditional outfits. Workshop led by Priya Patel. 

Handloom-weaving workshop


Gujarat was a textile capital for centuries. The dry coastal region produced cotton that was hand-spun and handwoven by skillful artisans and many centers were known for processing, dyeing the fabrics, and block printing. The ports of Gujarat were known to trade with ports of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

The maps produced by Egyptians in the 1st and 3rd centuries showing sea-trade routes in the Erythrae Sea (now known as the Indian ocean) between India, Africa, and Southern Europe. Mentions are found that India traded textiles in Africa and Europe in those times. In the 17th and 18th-century Indian fabric was used as a currency in Africa.
Another significant textile history was created by Mahatma Gandhi. It is almost a spiritual story of cotton yarn during India’s freedom struggle in the 1920s. This is a Khadi story. Many people all over the country participated in making and wearing the fabric made by themselves. Khadi became a fabric of national dedication, Swavalamban (self-sufficiency), Swabhiman (self-respect), equality, and freedom. By introducing Khadi, Mahatma Gandhi, for the first time made people of India and the rest of the world aware of the ethical side of what one wears. Originated from Gujarat, it is truly global history.

The new story that is emerging from Gujarat is also about bringing values and ethics back to clothing in a highly consumerist society that is distorting our behavior and destroying our souls. It is about saving the environment from pollution and depletion, saving people from poverty, and creating a sustainable and circular economy.

The event sessions were spread into five segments:
1. India was a cradle of cotton for the world: textile crafts of Gujarat and its global reach.
2. Industrial revolution, textile mills, and Ahmedabad known as a Manchester of India.
3. Gandhi, Khadi fabric, its role in India’s freedom movement and impact.

4. Reliance mills, Surat mills and synthetic textiles by Gujaratis
5. Organic and sustainable clothing for people and the planet: Khamir, AWA: EK and other contemporary stories from Gujarat.

Film day and Q & A session

A Delicate Weave and Do Din Ka Mela Documentary Film Screening

Kutch ‘…an island of peace in a sea of intolerance…”

This is how the two filmmakers from Mumbai, Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar describe Kutch, the semi-arid region in Gujarat, where the two documentary films were shot. 

‘A delicate Weave’ follows four diverse musical journeys drawing on the poetic and musical traditions of Kabir and Shah Bhitai, as well as the folk and crafts traditions of the region. These remarkable musicians and singers bear testimony to how these oral traditions of compassion are being passed down from one generation to the next.

Year: 2017, Language: Kutchi and Hindi Subtitles: English, Duration: 62 mins

Do Din ka Mela: “Nothing in the world will last – it is but a two-day fair” sings Mura Lala Fafal, drawing inspiration from the Sufi traditions of Sant Kabir and Abdul Lateef Bhita’i. He is accompanied on the Jodiya Pava (double flute) by his nephew Kanji Rana Sanjot. Mura and Kanji are Meghwals, a pastoral Dalit community that lives on the edge of the Great Rann of Kutch, in the Western Indian state of Gujarat. The Great Rann of Kutch is a vast salt marsh/desert that separates India and Pakistan

Year: 2009, Language: Kutchi and Gujarati, Subtitles: English, Duration: 60 mins

The screening of these films is followed by a Q&A with the Directors via video conference. 

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