Titled "Salt: The Great March-2013", Shelly Jyoti's exhibition at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi has an installation of khadi embossed with Sanskrit scriptures in calligraphy.

Giving the Gandhi Jayanti celebrations a new spin, artist-cum-curator Shelly Jyoti has put together an exhibition at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts here. The exhibition ends on October 20.

Titled “Salt: The Great March-2013”, the exhibition has an installation of khadi embossed with Sanskrit scriptures in calligraphy, sculptural installations of khadi yarn, contemporary artworks with ajrakh dyeing and printing incorporating needlework on khadi fabric.

“Khadi is not just a fabric for Indians. The movement was Bapu’s brainchild. He gave a fillip to khadi because he wanted Indians to become self-reliant. A number of Indians wore khadi during Bapu’s Dandi March. As an artist, I derived inspiration from this piece of history.”

Shelly’s exhibition explores social activism as propounded by Gandhian philosophy of Sarvodya and Swadharma.

“I cannot speak about Gandhiji’s philosophy in today’s context, but his desire to make all Indians wear khadi should be taken in all seriousness. If our countrymen start wearing khadi, it will be beneficial for those working on it in rural areas. This is what I have tried to achieve through this exhibition.”

Apart from khadi, the artist is seeking to resuscitate ajrakh, a centuries old tradition now being kept alive by a few families in Gujarat. It is a long process involving several layers of treatment of the cloth, designing and printing.

The artist has been working with the ajrakh karigars in Gujarat whose forefathers had migrated from Balochistan and Sindh in the 16 Century.

“Even I do block printing, but I allow the karigars to work because their style of printing is different from mine. My ambition is to contribute towards preservation of the ajrakh technique through my artwork and through exhibitions in galleries and museums.”

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