During the 2019 World of Wearable Art season join us and speakers Shani Pillai and Joji Jacob to discover a world of traditional Indian textiles, their history, their connections and their future.
Indigo is an ancient dye that attracted the name ‘‘Blue Gold’ for its strong performance as a high-value trading commodity in ancient times as it was considered a luxury item. It has been used in many civilisations and was popular in Mayan, Egyptian, Japanese, African and Indian cultures. It still is a star performer in today’s fashion in the form of Shibori, tie-dye fabrics and of course the much-loved denim. There is more to indigo than its dreamy blues. Join us on this multi-media journey to uncover the world of indigo and enjoy some fun and entertaining facts that will make you see indigo in a totally different shade. Also, enjoy viewing the display of all things Indigo!
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Shani Pillai and Joji Jacob’s roots are in India, they are Kiwis at heart, proud Wellingtonians & honoured to be Friends of Te Papa.
Shani is of South Indian heritage and has textiles weaving in her DNA from her father’s side of the family. Her mother tongue is Tamil, she also speaks fluent English, Bahasa Malaysia and understands Cantonese. Joji’s origins are in Kerala. He speaks fluent English, Hindi and Malayalam (his mother tongue), understands several Indian languages, and has experienced the cultures of several regions of India due to his father’s varied postings in the Indian Army. Their boutique tour business is fast gaining international recognition, with Chanel Fashion House being their latest client.
They are passionate about their cultural heritage and the traditions and arts passed down through the generations. This was distilled when they learnt of Benarasi brocade weavers committing suicide due to cheap Chinese imports robbing them of their traditional livelihood, it was the catalyst that made them decide to support these communities of artisans. This passion has propelled them to off the beaten track villages in different parts of India, through their Threads of Tradition textiles tours, en route meeting and seeing master textile artisans at work. They support selected community development groups that are helping and inspiring communities to develop and maintain their traditional livelihoods.
Fellow collectors have entrusted their collections to Shani and Joji so they can be showcased and shared widely with other textile lovers.