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01 February 2021
Life, After Life: Textile Crafts in India and Communities of Practice
In light of the global pandemic that has overturned the equilibrium of lives and livelihoods in every community in the world, we are thinking closer to home about textile traditions and crafts (weaving, dyeing, painting, printing); adornment practices; and cultural reciprocity between textiles, objects of use, and spaces of dwelling, and the ways in which people, families, and communities of practice involved in these crafts have been affected by the slow and fast trauma of local and global financial crises, floods, earthquakes, and now the pandemic. This special issue is interested in perspectives on how:
- shock, loss, trauma due to disasters get registered and remembered as stories in textile crafts, such as the Maru Meghval women artists of Kutch, Gujarat who collaborated with Nina Sabnani to transform their experience of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake in the form of narrative scrolls made with applique and embroidery. These narratives include the local tales, experiences, stories of earthquake, partition and migration, and protests against power-plants. Along similar lines, the women-led Tsunamika project (dolls made out of cloth scraps), conceived by Upasana Design Studio in Auroville, was a reparative response to the devastation brought about by the tsunami.
- disasters lead to the emergence of new products and/or artefacts to respond to an altered ethics of consumption, such as the deluge of cloth masks during the COVID 19 pandemic, or in the work of Ambika Devi (national award winning artist from Rashidpur, Bihar), who subtly shifts her Madhubani motifs to reflect sacred figures that are now wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing at village markets.
- disasters permanently alter livelihoods of craftspeople, communities, for instance the Chendamangalam weaving centre who have suffered severe losses of material, machinery, and revenue due to the 2018 Kerala floods.
- rebuilding of communities of practice is an essential but also a problematic premise that must negotiate competing interests of stakeholders. Often, the surge of intervention (by stakeholders external to the communities) in the event of disasters may lead to changes in identity of the craft itself.
- migration of craft traditions occurs during disaster, and how they permanently contaminate existing traditions to create an embedded sense of hybridity, which nevertheless sustains the identity and integrity of multiple traditions.
- new stories, new global narratives such as those that emerge in Roma Chatterji's account of Chitrakaras' narrative scroll paintings that perform and depict the 9/11 strike on the World Trade Centre, New York.
- the authenticity and meaning of craft might be diminished if/as it becomes commodified, and/or disengaged from the communities within which they find their functional, spiritual, and cultural purpose and meaning.
- communities might endure diminishing financial support during a pandemic or financial crisis.
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Information for Authors
The formats we are inviting include a full paper, interview or dialogue, book or exhibition review, and photo essays. If you have any other format of scholarly output in mind, please get in touch. See https://www.tandfonline.com/action/authorSubmission?show=instructions&journalCode=rftx20 for more information.
Abstract Submission Date [Optional]
01 October 2020
Paper Submission Date
01 February 2021
Special Issue Editor
Anuradha Chatterjee, Dean, Faculty of Design, Manipal University Jaipur, https://jaipur.manipal.edu/fod/schools-faculty/faculty-list/Dr_Anuradha_Chatterjee.html
Professor Pratibha Mishra and Assistant Professor Saurav Sharma, Department of Fashion Design, Manipal University Jaipur have kindly assisted with ideas in constructing this call for papers.
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