Anti-colonial movement inspires Indian art exhibition

·2-min read

An anti-colonial movement led by India's Mahatma Gandhi during World War II is set to be brought to life in a new one-of-a-kind textile exhibition in Melbourne.

Gandhi's Quit India Movement demanded an end to British rule during the early 1940s, before the nation gained independence in 1947.

More than 75 years on, its legacy lives on through an art display showcasing dozens of handmade textiles and woven fabrics.

The Sutr Santati exhibition, which means continuity of thread in Hindi, pays homage to Ghandi's efforts by highlighting diverse textile traditions created by prominent Indian artisans, craftspeople and designers.

"The reason I did this exhibition was to celebrate 75 years of India's independence and textile was a huge part of our freedom movement," exhibition curator Lavina Baldota told AAP.

"Mahatma Gandhi made everyone abandon British textiles and start spinning their own yarn and weaving their own textile at home."

As India prepares to celebrate its independence day on August 15, about 75 hand-woven textiles made from Indigenous yarn will be displayed at the exhibition to coincide with the event.

Fabric is one of the many hallmarks of Indian independence and textiles were created through hand weaving, embroidery, resist-dyeing, printing and painting.

Themes of climate change and hope are heavily featured throughout each installation, which includes a handwoven wall panel made entirely of waste scrap and a portrait of Gandhi woven in fine muslin.

"They're all natural yarns using eco-friendly dyes," Ms Baldota said. "We're making a statement about the environment and also slow consumerism."

Last year, India became the third largest country of birth for Australian residents.

Lynley Crosswell, chief executive and director of Museums Victoria said the exhibition explores important historical and contemporary contexts of Indian culture.

"Every single piece has a unique story to tell and demonstrates so many aspects of Indian history and culture and the practice of working with textiles going back thousands of years into the current day," Ms Crosswell said.

"It's just an exhibition of extraordinarily beautiful pieces and I think there's something here for everyone who loves beautiful objects."