Kerala

A drape full of life in COVID times

Costume designer Sindhu Saptavarna posing for a photo in front of the record-winning saree she designed with COVID-19 images.  

COVID-19 pandemic has brought in a plethora of records for Sindhu Saptavarna, costume designer from Vendallur, near Valanchery.

She holds the Golden Book of World Record, Asia Book of Record, India Book of Record and Best of India Record for the longest hand-painted pictorial sari.

Ms. Sindhu has surprised the fashion world by painting four dozen iconic COVID-19 images from across the world on a 9.36-metre-long saree. All the images she used for painting on the saree were so deeply rooted in the minds of the people that at a first glance, anyone could recognise the COVID-19 theme of her design.

“I started the work out of curiosity in the peak of the lockdown. But when I completed the work, I could not believe myself that I had transferred a big message onto a global canvas,” she said. Her canvas was the extra-large sari specially made by the Kuthampully weavers.

She chose each image after considering their lasting relevance. Begun with the infamous Wuhan market in China, where the COVID-19 originated, Ms. Sindhu went on to portray the initial travel of the virus to Italy, America and Britain.

The panic caused by the Nizamuddin meet, the arrival of a few Malayali passengers from Italy, blocking of the road on Kerala-Karnataka border, passengers giving biscuits to tired policemen on COVID-19 duty, and a son in quarantine watching his father’s funeral on live video were some of the paintings she used from people’s recent memory about the pandemic.

“I used Gateway of India to highlight Mumbai, because Mumbai had the highest number of cases when I was designing the sari,” she told The Hindu.

Ms. Sindhu chose the image of a pregnant Earth wearing gloves and a mask to conclude her series of paintings. “It’s an indication of the precautions that we need to take if we want a healthy future for mother Earth and its children,” she said, describing her painting.

She has carefully crafted her sari border also with COVID-19-related images. Masks, gloves, sanitisers, hand washes, and social distancing, are among those little images carefully crafted into the border.

Recognition and records soon started coming Ms. Sindhu’s way. First it was the Best of India Record, followed by the India Book of Record, the Asia Book of Record, and of late the Golden Book of World Record.

Textile giants have approached Ms. Sindhu for the sari, which she is keen to display at the Lalitha Kala Akademi at Thrissur. “I will be happy to donate whatever I get from this to the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund,” she said.

Sayed Abid Husain Thangal, MLA of Kottakkal, who visited her house on Thursday, was excited to see her work. “It is exceptional brilliance of Ms. Sindhu. She has done us all proud,” said Mr. Thangal.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 11:43:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/a-drape-full-of-life-in-covid-times/article33531169.ece

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