EWC Gallery Exhibit "Irresistible Resist: The Art of Indian Dyes and Design"

October 29, 2017 - February 11, 2018
Mānoa Campus, East-West Center Gallery John A. Burns Hall,1601 East-West Road Honolulu, HI 96848 Add to Calendar

When people imagine India, they often envision a world of vibrant colorful textiles with rich and complex designs. This seemingly romantic fantasy is actually based upon reality. South Asia has been producing vibrant textiles with intricate patterns for millennia. Many of the patterns were originally social signifiers of status, community, tribe, occupation, religion, stage in life, or gender, while other patterns are enjoyed for their aesthetic quality. With the expansion of global trade from the 17th to 19th centuries, textiles from the sub-continent could be found throughout the Northern and Southern hemispheres. In the modern context, textile artisans from India readily borrow designs from thousands of years of diverse regional images. What then are the secrets of these dazzling textiles? What makes them so irresistible? This exhibition focuses on the resist dyeing processes that have made Indian textiles prized by people throughout the world. The textiles in this exhibition will be presented in four distinct categories: block-print, kalamkari, tie-dye, and ikat. Until the late 19th century all dyes used on textiles were derived from natural sources – plant, mineral, and animal, requiring the use of mordants that bind and fix certain dyes to the cloth fiber. Resists, on the other hand, were used to block the dye from penetrating certain design elements on the textile. Used together on Indian block-printed, hand painted (kalamkari), tie-dyed and ikat woven both mordants and resists and natural dyes contributed to the creation of these popular textiles, adding to their rich coloring, wash-ability and fastness. Indian artisans were known as master dyers, and it is thanks to them that India became a leader in textile production. Block-printed and painted textiles share similar techniques used in their creation: the main difference is that for block-prints hand carved blocks are used to transfer mordants and resists to the cloth, whereas in kalamkari a ‘kalam’ or ‘pen’ is needed. Diverse regions in India have developed their own methodologies and styles, a heritage that has been handed down over generations. Each type of resist method is characterized by its own customs and iconography.

Gallery Admission is Free. Open on Weekdays 8:00am-5:00pm and Sundays Noon-4:00pm. Closed Saturdays and Federal Holidays.

The gallery will be closed on the following days; November 10 and 23, December 22, December 24-26, December 29-31, January 1-2, and January 15.

Parking on the UH-Manoa campus is normally free and ample on Sundays.

Free school & group tours available - Contact us for details.

This exhibition is made possible by The Hawaii Pacific Rim Society; Richard H. Cox; Aqua-Aston Hospitality; Sony Hawaii Company; Friends of Hawaii Charities, Inc.

Event Sponsor
East-West Center Arts Program, Mānoa Campus

More Information
(808) 944-7177, http://arts.eastwestcenter.org

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