Art

Rare tribal rugs from Central Asia on display at a Chennai exhibition

Danny Mehra says the beauty of his tribal carpet collection lies in the spontaneity of its themes and motifs

“Rug collection for me is a kind of a helpless obsession. My house is filled with rugs from the villages of Central Asia and the Caucasus mountains, yet my journey continues,” says Danny Mehra, curator of rare tribal rugs for the past 25 years. The collector was in the city to showcase his collection last week at The Folly, Amethyst.

“Each carpet you find here is the unique creative expression of the woman who had woven it. The design has been imagined by her and it cannot be replicated. The art is abstract, spontaneous and naïve,” explains Danny.

Rare tribal rugs from Central Asia on display at a Chennai exhibition

He talks about how the ethnographic context in which these carpets were made is now nearly extinct. “The soul is gone. Some communities over there are involved in the revival process, which is why I think these are precious.”

Rare tribal rugs from Central Asia on display at a Chennai exhibition

He has also created an art display by mounting remnants of carpet trimmings on canvas. Over the years, as the rug fragments came in from around the globe, they needed some repair and conservation work, and damaged parts cut off. His wife Renuka and her artist friend Mohua Roy decided to mount the remnants on canvas with a colour-coordinated background.

Rare tribal rugs from Central Asia on display at a Chennai exhibition

“So much work had gone into the making of these rare and antique rugs, it was difficult to just discard the pieces, and I am glad these pieces can now be preserved as artefacts for a longer period,” he says.

Rare tribal rugs from Central Asia on display at a Chennai exhibition

“Most of my carpets have found a home in Chennai. Sometimes, I do visit these homes to see how they are maintained. Buyers send photos of how they have displayed it in their homes,” he says, adding with a chuckle, “When a buyer has made up his mind to buy one of my collections, I give them 20 reasons why they should not buy.” He says he does this to make sure they understand how to conserve it. Then admits, it is also because he finds it hard to part with it.

Danny Mehra can be reached at 9880752554.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 1:53:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/rare-tribal-rugs-from-central-asia-on-display-in-a-chennai-exhibition/article30726244.ece

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