Silk River Unfurls

Silk River Unfurls - Community Programme and Exhibition at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew as part of autumn arts festival

Celebrating the connections between Britain and India through plants, people, art and artefacts.

Nash Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Sunday 22nd - Friday 27th October 10am – 6pm.

Free with entry to Kew Gardens.

Kew is collaborating with acclaimed international outdoor arts organisation, Kinetika, on the ambitious Silk River project, connecting 20 communities along the Thames Estuary and India’s Hooghly River. Silk River explores the unique relationship between London and Kolkata through community artistic exchange. The fruits of this collaboration are twenty stunning six-meter, hand-painted silk scrolls, ten created in India and ten in the UK.

This year-long international community collaboration between artists will be celebrated by bringing together all twenty hand-painted silk scrolls in a sensational exhibition in the Nash Conservatory at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from 22-27 October 2017.

The exhibition opens on Sunday 22 October with a day of activities for under 5s and families, including storytelling sessions, a natural dye workshop, a recipe exchange, dance performances and a collaborative artwork. More information on the activity programme is available here

The banner designs themselves are richly coloured and layered, depicting a mixture of landmarks, local personalities and aspects of history, ranging from pop culture in Dartford to a Tudor fort in Tilbury. The banner designed at Kew points to old trade links between the UK and India in the form of Indigo, quinine and silk. Many of these old trade connections have not survived the test of time, but the Silk River project has delighted in reviving at least one.

Revival of old skills
With the assistance of the Crafts Council of West Bengal, this has turned out to be a great silk weaving revival project, creating a showcase for a superior quality silk cloth from Murshidabad. In fact, the silk for the banners was hand woven on looms that had not been used in recent memory and only contains silk threads from that locality, not from other parts of India or indeed the world. More information on the silk is available here

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