The Arvind Indigo Museum in Ahmedabad, India

Posted on May 20, 2019 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

arvind indigo museum

arvind indigo museum

 

If you visit Gujarat, you are likely to pass through/visit Ahmedabad the largest city and former capital of Gujarat. The Old city of Ahmedabad was the first in India to be declared as UNESCO World Heritage City in 2017. The historic city is also known for its textiles industry and it is home to one of the best textiles museums in the world: The Calico Museum of Textiles. Founded in 1949 by the industrialist Gautam Sarabhai and his sister Gira Sarabhai, the museum has a stunning array of Indian textiles dating back to the Mughal period, as well as collections of sacred bronzes, Jaina manuscripts, sculptures, and Indian miniature paintings etc. Visits to the museum must be booked well in advanced as there is only one guided tour per day (except Wed), and no photography is allowed. The 2.5 hour long tour is guided by a knowledgable but rather stern lady, and I found it hard to listen to her and take in all the history and information. Despite the fascinating collection, it was hard to enjoy the tour when being rushed around and forbidden to linger.

 

Arvind indigo museum  Arvind indigo museum

Arvind indigo museum

Arvind indigo museum

Arvind indigo museum

 

Luckily, there is a new museum in the city that is less formal and more relaxing, and it is dedicated to indigo. The new Arvind Indigo Museum is located at the former Kasturbhai Lalbhai Museum, hence it is a bit confusing if you are trying to look for its website. When we visited, the museum had just opened (partially), hence there were no other tourists and no prior booking was needed. Set among tall trees and lush gardens, the Kasturbhai Lalbhai Museum complex consists of two buildings restored by renowned architect Rahul Mehrotra. The colonial structure was built in 1905, but it was closed during our visit. The new indigo collection is called "Alchemy" and it is displayed in the adjacent building, the Claude Batley house built in the 1930s, which showcases indigo-dyed textiles, art and objects created by renowned contemporary artists from Indian and around the world.

 

Arvind indigo museum aboubakar fofana

Amit Ambalal's "Birds Of A Feather Flock Together"  Amit Ambalal's "Birds Of A Feather Flock Together"

Arvind indigo museum

Arvind indigo museum  Arvind indigo museum

First and last rows: Aboubakar Fofana; Second row: Amit Ambalal's "Birds Of A Feather Flock Together"

 

Natural and indigo dyeing has made a huge comeback in recent years due to the issue of sustainability in the fashion and textiles industry. Therefore the opening of this museum is a timely one. Indigo is an indigenuous dye and it comes from a native plant called Indigofera tinctoria, grown mostly in Tamil Nadu nowadays.

The chairman and managing director of the 88-year-old textile and denim company Arvind Ltd, Sanjay Lalbhai wanted to pay homage to this magical dye that is closely related to his company and Indian's heritage, so a 20,000 sqft museum dedicated to the artistic manifestations of indigo was born.

 

Arvind indigo museum  Arvind indigo museum

Artisan Kirit Chitara’s rendition of ‘Mata ni Pachedi’.

Arvind indigo museum hansika sharma

Arvind indigo museum  Arvind indigo museum

Arvind indigo museum Bhagyashree Suthar

Arvind indigo museum  Arvind indigo museum

manish nai 95 Natural Indigo Sticks installations

2nd row: Kirit Chitara’s rendition of ‘Mata ni Pachedi’; 3rd row: Hansikar Sharma; 5th row: Bhagyashree Suthar; 6th right and last row: Manish Nai indigo-dyed aluminium and 95 Natural Indigo Sticks installations

 

The exhibition is ambitious and fascinating because it goes way beyond textiles... there are sculptures, paintings, paper art, and even furniture. You can expect the unexpected here, and I think the curation is top-notch. Whilst the exhibition features many local artists, there are also works by artists from other parts of the world like Malian arist/designer, Aboubakar Fofana, whose beautiful indigo-dyed textile works can be seen hanging at the entrance area and in the courtyard of the new building.

 

Arvind indigo museum

Arvind indigo museum

Arvind indigo museum shola carletti

based upon's indigo fragmented crack

Arvind indigo museum Manisha Parekh

Arvind indigo museum Manisha Parekh Annie Morris  Arvind indigo museum

Arvind indigo museum Nibha Sikander

Arvind indigo museum Nibha Sikander

Nibha Sikander  Arvind indigo museum Sachin Tekade

Arvind indigo museum Sachin Tekade

3rd row: Shola Carletti's "essence"; 4th row: British duo Based Upon's "indigo Fragmented Crack"; 6th: Manisha Parekh's paintings and British artist Annie Morris's sculpture made with indigo-dyed concrete, plaster, sand and steel; 7th, 8th and bottom left: Nibha Sikander; 8th right and bottom right: Sachin Tekade

 

The exhibition shows how diverse the indigo dye can be, and it is not just restricted to textiles. After the intense guided tour at the Calico Museum, it was pleasant to spend the afternoon here in a more relaxing setting surrounded by beautiful artworks. The museum is due to fully open in 2020, and I look forward to returning here again in the future to see more indigo art works.

 

Arvind indigo museum Alwar Balasubramanium

Arvind indigo museum Alwar Balasubramanium

Arvind indigo museum Tanya Goel

Arvind indigo museum

  Arvind indigo museum ‘Container’ by Kavin MehtaArvind indigo museum Shihoko Fukumoto

Arvind indigo museum

Arvind indigo museum

Arvind indigo museum

Arvind indigo museum Aboubakar Fofana’s denim installation

1st & 2nd rows: Alwar Balasubramaniam’s indigo landscapes; 3rd row: Tanya Goel; 5th left: Kavin Mehta's ‘Container’; 5th right: Shihoko Fukumoto’s ‘Time Space’, made with indigo-dyed linen; 7th & 8th rows: Vipul Mahadevia's "Kimono, the fabric of life". Bottom row: Aboubakar Fofana’s Indian denim installation

 

 


This post was posted in Exhibitions, Architecture, Travel, Art, Contemporary craft, contemporary, Sculptures, Textiles, indigo dyeing, India, Indian art, Colonial architecture, Gujarat and was tagged with Colonial architecture, contemporary crafts, sculptures, contemporary art, indigo dyeing, India, Indian textiles, Gujarat, Indian craft, Indian art, Arvind indigo museum, Ahmedabad, Kasturbhai Lalbhai Museum

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