Mela Phulkari IV
It’s that time of the year again when Punjabis across the country congregate for the most unique extravaganza. Mela Phulkari, a one-of-its kind exhibition put together by the Punjabi concept store 1469, is back in its fourth avatar. Curated by art historian and cultural theorist Dr Alka Pande, Mela Phulkari, organised at the India Habitat Centre’s Open Palm Court, has in the past three years brought alive the rich culture of Punjab with some fascinating installations, artworks and exhibits of the exquisite Phulkari weaves by rural Punjabi women.
Mela Phulkari IV takes the art of preserving Punjabi heritage a step further by saluting the origin and journey of the Gurmukhi script that was born in Goindwal in Punjab five centuries ago. The Mela is an ode to the cultural enrichment of Punjab through the script entwined into various facets of the daily lives of the people.
Summarising the theme beautifully, the curator Alka Pande says, “For 2017 we decided to take yet another cultural metaphor under the large umbrella of Phulkari. This time we decided to explore the beauty of the written word through the simple beauty of the Gurmukhi script. Like Phulkari the origin of the Gurmukhi script is not really known. Attributed to the second Guru Angad, according to the Athur tablet found in Ludhiana district it is felt that Gurmukhi was prevalent even before.”
Some of the main highlights of the Mela would be:
1. Qandh-The Great Wall by graphic artist Orijit Sen’s mural of life in Punjab depicts the indomitable spirit of the Punjabis over the years.
2. Neev – The foundation by Harinder Singh is an ode to the great literary figure, Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha, the man who gave us the Mahaan Kosh, a work that modestly claims in its title to be an encyclopedia of Sikh Literature. Its remarkable coverage and exemplary accuracy has 64263 entries of brief definitions of difficult words from the Gurmukhi Script. It paves the foundation to all literary work in the language.
3. GT Road(Grand Trunk Road) by Jassi Sangha and Gurjeet Singh with a display of 101 robust jars (Martaban) that have typical names of Punjabi food articles written on them.
4. ਰਾਗਮਾਲਾ -Raagmala by Harinder Singh and Jagdeep Singh This installation boasts of over 31 Nanakshahi bricks celebrating the musical journey of the verses in the Guru Granth Sahib. The 31 ragas used in our scriptures are calligraphed on the nanakshahi “ittaan’, this variety of brick tiles were of moderate dimensions and could be used for reinforcing lime concretes in the structural walls and other thick components.
5. Samrala Chowk by Harinder Singh and Bhupinder Singh. An ode to the diaspora from Punjab that has dispersed to all parts of the world but have kept their Punjabiyat alive.
6. Kitaab The installation is a collection of Manuscripts by Punjab Digital Library, which is a voluntary organisation digitizing and preserving the cultural heritage of Punjab since 2003. The PDL collection includes manuscripts dated from the early fifteenth century, making it the biggest resource of digital material on Panjab, with over 15 million digitized pages.
7. Sangrur Bell by Ghazala Khan & Kirandeep Kaur This is an installation of 2500 sangrur bells. This miniature phulkari accessory is symbolic of the efforts to empower the woman of the rural Panjab.
8. ਕਰੀਂ ਕਿਤੇ ਮੇਲ ਰੱਬਾ, ਦਿੱਲੀ ਤੇ ਲਾਹੌਰ ਦਾ by Gurjeet Singh is an installation about origin of the panjabi language and gurmukhi script and later its bifurcation into Shahmukhi and Gurmukhi. Shahmukhi is written from right to left, while Gurmukhi is written from left to right.
9. Barhmaha Blocks of 12 months as per Punjabi calendar artistically engraved on wooden blocks with phulkari patterns in the backdrop.
10. ਸੋਨੇ ਦੀ ਸਵੇਰ ‘sone di swer’- Gold Rush – by Harinder Singh & Hashim Saifi — This installation is a depiction of typically vivid Punjabi morning with the golden bicycle with golden milk utensils.
11. Ikk meri akh kashni Phulkari by Harpreet Sokhi is inspired from the traditional Panjabi song, which says- Ma de hathan di ae phulkari nishani eh; Isse naseebawalan ne ronde hasde payii eh.
12. Interactive gurmukhi calligraphy by Gurjeet Singh.