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The Art of the Sari

Surrey Art Gallery
Surrey BC – thru Jun 10. 2007

Detail of old ikat sari from India
Detail of old ikat sari from India [Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey BC, through Jun 10]


The sari has existed for over 5000 years and continues to be worn by a billion women around the world. It is the most common form of dress in India. In celebration of the multipurpose costume, The Surrey Art Gallery presents The Art of the Sari, an exhibition showing the sari as a form of living art.

Historically, Hindus believed that cloth pierced by needles was impure, so a long length of simple cloth was adapted to fit the body. In terms of beauty, the sari emphasizes small waists and curvaceous busts and hips. From a utilitarian point of view, the sari is ideal for complete coverage of the female body at work. The adaptable sari can be worn as shorts, trousers, a flowing gown or as a skirt. In fact, more than fifteen styles can be found throughout India alone. From 5 yards to 9.5 yards long, depending on the status of the wearer and its use, the cloth is tied loosely, folded and pleated. A petticoat or “ghagra” and a blouse or “choli” were adopted in the 19th century and are sometimes worn under the sari. With globalization, western dress has been increasingly embraced, but the sari is still preferred for dress occasions, rituals and ceremonies around the world, and for utilitarian purposes in rural India.

The Art of the Sari showcases centuries-old traditional crafts of weaving, printing and decoration in historical saris, as well as glamorous contemporary saris designed and created for this exhibit. They are complemented by poems written in English, Punjabi and Hindi on the theme of the sari. The Art of the Sari is presented concurrently with the exhibition Cultural Mashups: Bhangra, Bollywood + Beyond, an immersive, interactive exhibit in the TechLab.

www.arts.surrey.ca

April 19, 7:30pm
Mushaira/Kavi Sum Melan: Poetry Readings on the theme of the Sari.

May 7, 7:30pm
Lecture: The History of the Sari. CANCELLED

Sunday, May 20, 12 noon to 5pm
Family Day.

Mia Johnson

Detail of old ikat sari from India
Detail of old sari from India [Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey BC, through Jun 10]


Detail of old ikat sari from India
Detail of old sari from India [Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey BC, through Jun 10]


Detail of old ikat sari from India
Detail of old sari from India [Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey BC, through Jun 10]

 Thu, May 3, 2007