Among the many images of India artists are seeking to depict during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, traditional styles jostle with the contemporary. Among them is the installation “Tree Of Knowledge”. A collaboration between Milind Soman and Madhu Jain, it will be showcased in the Fabric of India segment.

This segment will be devoted to the traditional Indian crafts and textiles. “At the ceremony we are glad to represent the unknown weavers who have devoted their life to sustain this ancient art,” says Jain. A lot of hard work has been invested in the installation, which took three months to complete as it required travelling across the country. Jain says the endeavour was to ensure “nothing goes wrong while representing the traditional art form on such a prestigious platform”.

The installation takes its name from the representation of the chinar tree on a bamboo and silk base textile. The chinar is found in the Kashmir Valley and is a significant part of Kashmir's culture. Various Indian patterns like Kalamkari and Kantha (for the backdrop) have been used to create the installation. Twenty-five panels using these exclusive fabrics will form a 110-foot high and 40-inch wide tree trunk. The presentation is expected to take up nine to 10 minutes.

Projekt M, known as a pioneer in introducing bamboo-based textiles in India, brought together Jain's 23 years of experience and the creativity of 300 weavers, 200 embroidery masters and 500 craftsmen to accomplish this project. “We are proud to present 2000-year-old craftsmanship in front of the world,” says Jain.

The concept of using bamboo and silk-base textile is unique. “Bamboo represents the states of North-east India which needs the focus of the world at the moment. Silk belongs to most of the Indian states and the exclusive fabric has been brought directly from the states of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. The purpose of bringing them together is to spread the message of Peace and harmony,” notes Jain.

Projekt M was started seven years ago by Jain and Milind Soman, when they decided to come together to promote Indian hand-woven textiles. “I am happy that finally our hard work got recognition and we are all ready for the opening ceremony,” says Jain.

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