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Bengali Kantha weaves a magic of women-centered practice in Dandenong

This month of February, Kantha weaves a magic of personal and inter-generational, women-centered practice with narratives embroidered on worn, at times stained and frail muslin sarees.

Featuring paintings the exhibition addresses the Kantha textile tradition of India with artist Natasha Narain presenting ‘A Kantha Garden for Her’ showing at Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre, Dandenong.

Natasha transforms found materials and unstretched canvases to refer to the maternal, hand embroidery tradition of the Bengali ‘Kantha’.

The textile tradition saw a personal and inter-generational, women-centred practice with narratives embroidered on worn, at times stained and frail (handwoven) muslin sarees.

A Kantha Garden for Her – Kantha textile tradition in Dandenong

Natasha believes historical events fractured and altered the self-reflexive nature of Kantha practice and so, as an artist, she is seeking to resuscitate this self-reflexive quality and create voices that cross boundaries and give wholeness to the maker, their family and the community.

Natasha is a Bengali Australian artist, who lived in India until she was twenty-three, draws from a traumatic personal history and evolving around her cultural hybridity – of being displaced but adapted to a cohesive existence with Indian-ness and the West, tradition and feminism, and between nature and universal subjectivity.

Natasha researches at QUT in Brisbane, where she explores ways of reclaiming the Bengali woven tradition as a self-reflexive, interdisciplinary and accessible medium – creating a dialogical space that invites other stories and ideas of community, and of nurture.

Presented as an installation of a large body of interconnected and interdisciplinary works; evoking a sacred place for stories, embedded in a Kantha way; the exhibition is now open

From 7 February to 2 March

At Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre, corner of Walker and Robinson streets, Dandenong.

For more information, please contact the gallery on 9706 8441

Shalini Singh

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