Of Limbs and Lihaaf: US-based Indian artist darns unique textile art story

Bhasha Chakrabarti has been touching on the subject of gender and the gaze on the body by using materials such as Kantha, jeans, muslin, and cotton rag paper to cover her textile paintings in an evoking style.

Having a strong interest in mending, Chakrabarti decided to use the skill as a creative gesture to confront the fragility of relationships and the impermanence of emotions. She exhibits through her crafts that one can never mend anything to its original state as there will always be fissures but then one learns to live with them by acceptance.

A Study Of Limbs And Lihaaf is an artwork that involves the use of discarded clothing— or using old quilts and thread to cover a painted figure till only the limbs are visible. She used fabric which usually clothes the body but by painting bodies in oils—often nude—on textiles, or doing image transfers on fabric. It looks like an oil painting on fabric but the painting is traditionally done on a canvas or linen support.

She also wanted to reveal the history and provenance of the particular traditional textile used to cover the painting, for instance, the quilt used in Lihaaf to cover the painted body, also refers to the quilting tradition in Hawaii—where Chakrabarti grew up. It was used by the American missionaries in pretense to “civilise the natives”.

Art Workshop & Course - Authindia


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