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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.
What is the common thread that ties India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia? It is the ‘Ikat’ weave. The word ‘Ikat’ means ‘tie’ in both Indonesian and Malaysian languages and refers to the tie and dye weaving technique which has been used for centuries to create beautiful artisanal Ikat handlooms.
This multi-media presentation will take you on a journey from the Ikat saree weaving Indian sub-continent to the sarong or panel ikat weaving traditions of the South East Asian countries and show how they are historically linked since ancient times. You will get to appreciate the different types of ikat that are unique to these countries, the stories they tell and their significance in these cultures. There will be examples of ikat weaves from Thailand, Cambodia, India and Indonesia on display so you can touch and feel them.
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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.