Invite Image: Tehsil Map of Najibabad
with Nadeem, Shariq and Priya Ravish Mehra
Tuesday, 25 April and Wednesday, 26 April, 2017
11 am to 5 pm
C 13, Pamposh Enclave
This two day session began with an introduction by Priya Ravish Mehra on her longstanding research on rafoogari, the invisible art of traditional darning.
For the two days of the session C 13 turned into a Karkhana and a learning center as the master rafoogars will demonstrate their skills. Nadeem and Shariq worked on reconstructing the tehsil map of Najibabad as well as developed a sampler of the stitches used by them. They also shared stories about their craft through these sessions.
We invited participants to bring their own textiles and clothes which are in need of repair and learn from these master darners how to mend them.
Priya Ravish Mehra is a Delhi based textile artist, weaver, researcher and designer. She graduated in Fine Arts (with specialisation in textiles) from Santiniketan and later studied tapestry weaving at West Dean College, Sussex and Royal College of Arts, London. Priya grew up with the hereditary art of skilled darning or rafoogari through her personal and family connections to Najibabad, a small town in Bijnor district, Uttar Pradesh.
The early exposure to textiles led her to research and document aspects of the traditional skills and the social history of Najibabad rafoogars for over 14 years. With the support of the Khoj project Negotiating Routes: Ecologies of the Byways II, in 2012 she was able to take forward her interest in supporting and projecting these undervalued craftsmen. The Baithak at C 13 continued from the Khoj baithak where rafoogars collaboratively produced Najibabad naksha. Priya often organises these baithaks with the rafoogars not only as a means of recognising the great skill and tradition of the craftsmen but also as a way of enabling people to spend time with this highly cathartic and healing process. To mend together, to mend with care and attention to detail is most definitely the need of the hour.
About C 13
The event was a part of the programming of C 13, an exhibition which was a collaboration between FICA and artist Priyanka Choudhary. Between 2010-17, Priyanka used C 13 as a studio space and has now extended an invitation to other practitioners to rethink the possibilities of a studio space. The FICA Reading Room was also housed in the building for the period of three weeks. We invited Susanta Mandal to respond to this project of inhabiting C 13 - a home, a studio, an abandoned site that is being interpreted and experienced differently by each of the exhibiting artists and to come up with a structure for the Reading Room. He designed a self-contained unit, a mobile structure with all the architectural elements of a building. FICA Reading Room is a space for discussions and over the next three weeks we will hold many informal conversations in this room.