ALMIRAH | a celebration of Indian craft and its home
a woman’s wardrobe is an intimate private space of introspection, self-care and often self-indulgence. In ancient India the almirahs of the royalty would be a sanctuary to the palace women. This series is meant to capture these moments in a woman’s closet: the closet of not only her clothes, but the closet of her mind and soul. Adorned in beacons of Indian craft, women in their wardrobes would model the most exemplary fabrics of Indian craft. Today, as we live through the time of quarantine and lockdown, a wardrobe can be a place of solace and rest: and our Indian outfits a source of release and transcendence. This series exploits the form of the pop-culture reference of ‘mirror selfies’ this series is about photographing the self through the lens of a mirror to catalyse introspection and self-contemplation by a woman when adorned in works of Indian craft which represent millions of years of tradition and millions of people, then and now, who work tirelessly to create perfection. This introspection is mostly centred around loss: the loss of Indian craft over the ages. Each item that I wear in some way represents this loss of my Indian culture, tradition and craft. This work is not only a gesture of pride and agency for women, but also an effort to conserve and preserve centuries of Indian histories.
This outfit comprises five distinct pieces of Indian craft which each come from a different generation and era. The oldest: a 200 year old aangani belonged to my ancestors. Worn in Northern Rajasthan this aangani is an example of the finest Rajasthani craftsmanship. The oodhani made using small metal pieces in the craft of ‘mukeish’ belonged to my great great grandmother and is appliqued with parsi embroidery patches which belonged to my grandmother. The belt, a beautiful mughali weave is my mother’s but is centuries old. And the silk organza skirt a contemporary design, which belongs to me. Placed as one outfit, but yet temporally spaces this is a true beacon of Indian craftmanship from all over the country, through time and space.
Indian used to have thousands of saree making weaves, processes and crafts. Today’s a merge amount still live. This saree is a feeble attempt at preserving Indian craft and saree traditions. This saree is made out of 84 different shard of sarees which are each of a different region and craft of India. This is a wearable archive of the plethora of crafts I could collect, which include but are not limited to Ikat, Banarasi, Patola, Bandhani, Kalamkari, and Chanderi.
Based on the concept of sati, this black ensemble comprises a black sharara which is worn to symbolise belonging and possession, whereas the saree which is typical of outfits worn by widows who refuse to jump into the fire when their husbands die is detracted from my body to signify the distance I have with this particular concept. However, rooted deep in my understanding of feminism this saree begin on the program of my body and is then distanced over time and space. 
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