Royal Botanical Gardens Kew.
Surrey. TW9 3 AE
22nd October 2017 to 27th October. 2017
The long relationship between Britain and India is being celebrated by ‘UK/India 2017’ with a huge programme of cultural exchange lasting for a year.
‘Silk River Unfurls’, the exhibition at Kew, is part of the celebration. It explores the connection between Britain and India through plants, people, arts and artefacts. It presents activities for all ages including stories, workshops, recipe exchange, artwork and live performances. It brings the colour and exoticism of India to Kew.
Kew has collaborated with the international, outdoor arts organiser, Kinetika, on the silk river project which is connecting twenty communities along the Thames Estuary and the Hooghly river in India.
These communities have each produced ten hand painted silk scrolls measuring six metres in length. All twenty are on display in the Exhibition. In stunning colours and exquisite workmanship, they portray landmarks, local personalities and historical references. They are significant because they have produced a revival of the old tradition of silk weaving. This revival is being supported by the Craft Council of West Bengal. The scrolls are handwoven on looms that have not been in use in recent memory.
The silk comes from Murshidabad and the worms are fed on mulberry leaves. Murshidabad once had a fine tradition of weaving and was famous for its richly coloured cowdial saris. Produce from there was exported by the French and later by the East India Company.
‘Think Arts, the British Council have supported this project with many other organisations.
This exhibition raises awareness of arts and how they can connect communities. A visit to Kew is always a pleasure and these scrolls are well worth seeing as they flow in silken glory from the high ceiling bringing to mind connotations of two mighty rivers, the Thames and the Googhly.
Tel: 0208 332 5655