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Online Sari Talks – Of Silk and Spun Dreams: Dr Chamu Kuppuswamy

June 16, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Photo of Dr Chamu Kuppuswamy wearing a sari and leaning against a tree

For this edition of the WOVEN festival, Manasamitra weave a series of talks around the graceful and multi-dimensional garment – the SARI. Now gaining a revival among the second generation diaspora around the
world, the SARI is a swirling 6 yards of material that can be draped in at least 85 different ways. Through these SARI talks, we see the various roles played by the Sari in our lives – a beautiful garment, heirloom
full of memories and even a salve for the mind. Supriya Nagarajan, Artistic Director of Manasamitra and a fervent sari wearer talks to a range of artists, curators and fabric specialists who provide fascinating perspectives on the important role played by the SARI in today’s world.

The second of these talks features Dr Chamu Kuppuswamy.

Dr Chamu Kuppuswamy is a lawyer and a classical Indian dancer interested in the intersections of culture, art, law and the environment. She is currently employed as a Senior Lecturer at Hertfordshire Law School where she teaches and researches in these areas, including championing multidisciplinary research through her role as a Global Economy Research theme champion at the Office of the Vice-Chancellor. A passionate rambler, she has received numerous awards for her work in the Peak District National Park. She is currently working on an Arts Council England-funded dance research project on Kanchi silk, a material used for costuming in classical Indian dance, and is studying sustainable fashion in this context.
About Textile, History, Dance and the rural English Landscape

“My work in the Peak District first took me on a journey of discovery about Indian cotton and silk in the Peak District. In it I discovered the truly international story of the UNESCO world heritage site of Cromford Mills, where the Industrial revolution began. A story of brutality and competition. In contrast to this, I discovered the story of Tussur silk in another part of the Peak District, a story of collaboration and artistry. You can listen to my account on BBC R4’s Countryfile. A few years on from this HLF project, I am now exploring the story of the South Indian Kanchi silk, one of the first items in India to be protected by the law as a Geographical Indication for its heritage value, and much treasured by South Asian communities world over for their beauty, exquisite weave and everlasting appeal. As a dancer, I am exploring everything about the Kanchi pattu (silk) – the designs on the saree, their significance, the weavers and weaving, what makes a ‘real’ Kanchi pattu saree and the story of the silk worm. I am also moved to explore non-violent silk, or Ahimsa silk, where the saree is made from allowing the silk worm to leave before the threads are used for silk, and exploring the values of longevity and connection, wherein silk sarees are passed down as family heirloom, a complete antithesis to today’s fast fashion”

The talk will take place on Manasamitra’s YouTube channel

Picture Credit : Jesus Ramirez


June 16, 2021
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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