The 50 black-and-white drawings of Laxman Aelay, curated by Manvinder Dawer at the Stae Art Gallery, capture the essence of the daily life of the villagers, complete with emotions. The bold dark lines not only encapsulate the journey but also make the characters come alive in person, almost telling their stories on their own. Laxman had drawn the sketches while he was at the sets of the Telugu biopic Mallesham, which focuses on the life of a rural weaving artisan, Padma Shri Chintakindi Mallesham. “I lived in the village for a few months to get into the skin of their lifestyle and capture the essence of the art over there,” explains Laxman.
His drawings prominently feature the weaver’s loom and the daily toil of these artisans to create beautiful woven textiles. While one of his sketches on display portrays a relaxed atmosphere, with artisans enjoying their break from work and talking to each other under a tree or playing local musical instruments, another shows an artisan’s hand holding a tool.
Incidentally, the exhibition is interactive in nature, showcasing not only Laxman’s artwork but also various looms in different sizes for enthusiasts to touch and feel. In effect, through the exhibition, Laxman also gives his guests a first-hand experience of the weaving community through videos and sound installations. One of the looms on display even has a pulley mechanism, which enables guests to see for themselves how looms operate.
Interestingly, the vast white walls of the gallery also add in imparting the mood and vibrancy of the textiles. One of the walls at the exhibition has thread rolls in vibrant hues hanging while on the opposite, there are threads strung in a weaving patterns, to signify weaving. Yet another wall has a huge end-to-end drawing of a man working on the loom.
All in all, the exhibition is a beautiful insight into an unknown arena of the urban dwellers. It urges society to be considerate towards the weaving community and helps raise awareness about the sustainability of the art and the artisans....