Pooja Singhal, the curator of the exhibition.
Adil Hasan
Pooja Singhal, the curator of the exhibition.

Pooja Singhal celebrated the fourth edition of her Pichvai revival series in Bikaner House, New Delhi

The art enthusiast and curator focused on the dialogue between the works of art and the spaces they inhabit in Pichvai Tradition & Beyond

When art enthusiast and curator Pooja Singhal hosted a dinner to celebrate the opening of the fourth edition of her Pichvai revival series titled Pichvai Tradition & Beyond at Bikaner House in New Delhi, it naturally drew the cream of the capital’s swish set. Curated by Singhal, the exhibition focused on the conversation between the works of art and the spaces they inhabit. Some sections of the show housed the traditional works, while others had the [more contemporary] works hung as installations with interesting wall mounting techniques.

Used for ritualistic purposes, the textile art of pichvai - now informed by contemporary sensibilities - is popular among art connoisseurs.

Talking about the show, Singhal says, “My passion and journey have been to critically engage with everything that is traditionally Indian – from design and fabric, to techniques and art. I am able to take a traditional art or craft, maintain its ethos, and yet bring out something from within it that is aesthetically and culturally relevant today. I work hard to not compromise on that relevance, to present to the market a competitively-priced product without negating its aspiration…and, in the process, define new ways of thinking about art itself. For me, there has to be a social component with an element of commerce to sustain the weavers and artists – something that is perpetual in nature. The business excites me to innovate and create. I now know that I’m able to bring commerce, revival and artistic intervention together successfully.”

Something About Pichvai
A pichvai is a meticulously detailed, hand-painted textile traditionally hung behind the idol of Shrinathji, an incarnation of the Hindu god Krishna. Worshipped by the Vaishnavite sub-sect of the Pushtimargis, the temple town of Nathdwara in Udaipur, Rajasthan, is home to the main shrine revered and visited by devotees. Over the last century, painted textiles created for ritualistic use at the shrine have taken on a new role as wall art. They are much sought after by the cognoscenti for their aesthetics, and they have succeeded in triggering off a renewed pursuit among collectors.

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