A special exhibition, ‘The Land of Woven Dreams’, marked the eighth National Handloom Day as part of a wider set of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav events to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence in the UK.
The exhibition, launched at India House on Saturday, was a collaborative effort between the Indian High Commission in London and Handloom Export Promotion Council of India. It concluded on 8 August.
Acting High Commissioner of India to the UK Sujit Ghosh spoke of the rich and sustainable heritage of Indian handlooms and their positive impact on India’s economy at the inauguration of the exhibition.
“The rich and diverse textile and handloom traditions of India are a product of the incredible imagination and creativity of India’s talented weavers and designers,” said Ghosh.
“Indian handlooms employ sustainable weaving practices and organic dyes are thus eco-friendly. Handlooms are also a sector that generates employment opportunities for women and thus contribute to their empowerment. Government of India is striving to protect India’s handloom heritage, promote craft literacy, empower handloom weavers and workers and showcase their exquisite craftsmanship,” he said.
Susan Thomas, the director of the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bengaluru; couture designer Vaishali S.; Eiluned Edwards, professor, School of Art and Design, Nottingham University; and Elizabeth Ashdown, associate lecturer, Central St. Martins College, London reflected upon the “Role and Relevance of Handlooms in the future of Fashion Industry” to mark National Handloom Day, which is celebrated annually on 7 August.
A live weaving demonstration and glimpses of handloom displays curated by National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bengaluru, were among the other highlights over the weekend.
The panellists discussed the importance of preserving India's handloom traditions, their evolution over time and contribution to sustainable fashion. A thematic dance performance by Sanskriti Institute and a flute recital concluded the launch event for the exhibition at Montcalm Hotel in London.