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Indian Textiles

Saturday 20 November 2021, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

$25.00 – $30.00

Our popular speakers Shani Pillai and Joji Jacob return to the Friends to take you on an intriguing journey of revival – not only bringing back to life the lost arts of fine cotton weaving and embellishment techniques but giving it a contemporary twist, so it can be worn and appreciated by a wider audience within India and international fashion platforms.

This multi-media presentation will enthral you with the story of fine cotton weaving from the east and west regions of India. One referred to as ‘woven air’, Jamdani was sort after by the Greeks, Roman and Portuguese centuries ago. Once only worn by the prince and princess of the mogul courts is now being reviewed with modern sensibilities.

The other fine technique, Tangaliya, a 700-year-old craft from Gujarat in the west, was handwoven and worn by the shepherd community but almost vanquished with the availability of cheaper machine-made fabrics. Thanks to a few remaining Tangaliya weavers, this traditional weaving art form has now being revived and is thriving.

A limited number of different types of handwoven and embellished textiles will be available for purchase. These were personally selected by the speakers directly from the artisans. The proceeds from the sales will be used to provide additional work for the artisans during these difficult times.

Shani Pillai and Joji Jacobs 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.

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. 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.

Feature image: Image provided by J. Jacob & S Pillai.

Member $25, Non-member $30 (incl. a glass of wine and free parking)


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Saturday 20 November 2021
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
$25.00 – $30.00
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Te Huinga Centre, Level 3, Te Papa
55 Cable Street, Wellington
Wellington, 6011 New Zealand
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Friends of Te Papa
(04) 381 7051