Expanding museum for women artisans of Kutch India

by Kala Raksha
May 27, 2011

KR MUSEUM SUPPORTS Major Documentation Project

Vagadia rabari purse accessioned for exhibiton
Vagadia rabari purse accessioned for exhibiton

KR MUSEUM SUPPORTS MAJOR DOCUMENTATION PROJECT KALA RAKSHA MUSEUM PROJECT REPORT 3 APRIL – 27 MAY 2011 Since its inception, Kala Raksha has dovetailed the collection and preservation of traditional pieces with income generation. The Trust established an international quality Museum of textiles and related materials in 1997. Two features of this Museum make it unique. First, the Museum is based in the village itself. Artisans have access to and responsibility for it. Second, artisans were involved in all phases of the development of the Museum. They assisted in collection, were engaged in documentation, and consulted in the permanent exhibition. The Kala Raksha Museum successfully proves the mutual benefits of involving communities in presenting and utilizing their own cultures. The Museum is intended as a resource base for artisans, designers and researchers. One aim is to revitalize traditions in contemporary ways through the museum’s inspiration. VISITORS AND RESEARCHERS An American student from the School for International Studies did research for her independent project. During this period, 10 buyers and tourists also visited the Museum. Happily, several were on reccees, and promise to bring groups in the cooler months. Although we do not yet have a way of tracking visitors to our online museum, we have received many compliments on the site, and as we launched our second online exhibition: INNOVATION: REPURPOSE, RE-INVENT, RECYCLE, we received many compliments and good wishes. RESEARCH The accessioning of a significant collection of eastern Kutch textiles coincided serendipitously with the short sabbatical of an excellent researcher, and the acceptance of a proposal to publish a book on Kutch embroideries. During this period, the researcher utilized our collections and library extensively, and began field work. The project promises to bring exciting breakthrough information on the wonderful textiles of this little known region of Kutch, which will greatly enhance our Museum collections and make for an important publication. DESIGN INTERNS The National Institute of Fashion Technology intern Smita Srivastava and Richika Pallavi completed their project. KRV Project Director Judy Frater was a member of the jury panel for their final exhibition. The jury most appreciated the quality of traditional work, which was supported by research for artisans and designer alike in the museum The third group of Kala Raksha Artisan Designer interns have completed the first round of Art to Wear jackets, which will be shown at the Surface Design Association conference in Minneapolis June 9-12. They successfully combined traditions studied in the Museum with new concepts, to make stunning unique garments. RENOVATION OF EXHIBITION GALLERY Renovation of the Museum Exhibition Gallery is nearly complete. In May, National Institute of Design exhibition designer Mayank Loonker made two visits to install the panels and objects. Only the handmade mannequins and camel remain. The addition of an LCD screen will extend the exhibition with unlimited flexibility, and enable interactive programs in the gallery. The renovation has professionalized our museum presentation tremendously. Added to the freshly painted campus, this will make winter 2011-12 the ideal time to visit Kala Raksha! ADDITIONS TO COLLECTIONS Renovation of the museum exhibition required changes in display Consequently Kala Raksha purchased two new objects for the exhibition. Five new books were accessioned in this period, including Nina Sabnani’s Stitching Stories: The Art of Embroidery in Gujarat. Kala Raksha is featured in this charming children’s book. “Stitching Stories” is an adaption of Nina Sabnani’s animated film “Tanko Bole chhe,” which recently won its eight award: “The Stellar Selections Animation award” at Black Maria Film Festival at Cornell Cinema. THANKS TO GLOBAL GIVING! Kala Raksha Trust is self sustaining in its income generation work- a feat not even attempted by many non-profits. However, the earnings from our income generation can not cover the costs of expansion of The Kala Raksha Museum, which is the core of our sustainable, authentic work. Generous donations from our supporters enable us to add to our collections, and host projects that utilize our rich resource. Global Giving has enabled us to realize our first goal in expanding our collections and installing our second virtual exhibition! We thank Global Giving donors for your support, and welcome financial contributions as well as ideas for ways to reach out and share our holdings with interested people. “The Global giving website is easy to navigate. It makes giving so much easier,” Maryann Sadagopan, Global Giving donor. THE NEXT PHASE We look forward to showcasing our Art to Wear collection at the Surface Design Association meetings in Minneapolis June 9-12. We are also excited to conduct the final phase of documentation of Kutch embroidery traditions and begin editing our documentation for publication with a highly respected publisher. $795 would enable the final research to be carried out. Two more small collections of objects have been identified for accession: an additional collection of Eastern Kutch embroidery, and a collection of women’s blouses. These are valued at RS 16,650 ($378) and RS 18,700 ($425) respectively. With the renovation of our Museum Exhibition, we wish to revise our catalogue, which will make the exhibition information available to interested people throughout the world. $1,000 would make publishing a new catalogue possible.

Panel for new exhibiton
Panel for new exhibiton
Vagadia Rabari woman in traditional dress
Vagadia Rabari woman in traditional dress
Work on Exhibition
Work on Exhibition



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Organization Information

Kala Raksha

Location: ta. Bhuj, Kutch, Gujarat - India
Website: http:/​/​www.kala-raksha-vidhyalaya.org
Project Leader:
Judy Frater
Kutch, Gujarat India

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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