Embroider the world: tarshito
bengal gallery of fine arts, dhaka
16 – 30 january, 2015 photos: mizanur rahman khoka and kamrul hasan mithon
Nicola Strippoli Tarshito’s ‘Embroider the World’ exhibition weaves together legacies and heritages across cultures. Creation through cultural collaboration and appropriation is a major theme in all ofTarshito’s work but, Tarshito is also an innovator and inventor who is redefining cultural concepts and practices. In his recent exhibition at the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts held in January 2015, Tarshito combines painting and drawing with nakshikantha, a style of original, fine embroidery that is indigenous to southern Bangladesh. Born in 1952, at Corato, a small city on the outskirts of Bari, southern Italy, Nicola Strippoli Tarshito earned his university degree in 1979 from the Faculty of Architecture in Florence, after which, he made his first journey to India. In the artist’s own words, the journey proved to be a ‘rebirth’ both reshaping his artistic sensibilities and providing the impulse to engage with art forms from the Indian subcontinent.
The Vase, the Line and the Shadow. Mixed media, acrylic and kantha stitch on canvas 140 x 200 cm 2014
Nakshikantha is a form of embroidery unique to certain parts of Bangladesh and West Bengal (India). Often portraying a variety of objects and designs including mythical figures, animals, birds, geometrical objects, symbols of the sun and moon, its appeal has endured over the decades. Tarshito recognises this individuality and appeal and builds on it with his own applications. In the exhibition, Tarshito showcases thirty pieces which aptly layer and juxtapose stitched works – commissioned by him from expert craftspersons in Bangladesh – with applications by Tarshito in various media, like acrylic, gold leaf, ink, and rubber on canvas and fabric. Works such as The Vase, the Line and the Shadow (2014), The Vase, the Line and the Gold 1 & 2 (2014) see the return ofTarshito’s much favoured, much celebrated form – the vase, this time, accompanied by the motifs of nakshikantha. At the very surface, this is a literal marriage of two art forms, this is clear to most viewers. Going slightly deeper, we find that what Tarshito proposes is a human engagement across cultures, a profound appreciation of the local, the traditional and successfully creating a place for it in the contemporary context. It is as much a journey through time as it is across geographies and a fine balance between two very distinct art forms.
The Vase, the Line and the Gold 1. Mixed media, acrylic, rubber, gold leef and kantha stitch on canvas 81 x 81 cm 2014
Perhaps that is most apparent in Offering Hand (2014), a collection of fifteen pieces showcasing the human palm adorned in unique set of designs from flowers to the paisley patterns to the simplest and most ubiquitous of stitches, the horizontal run. Each hand is different visually not only for the motifs they portray but the dreams and aspirations they seemingly foster. “I travel and try to understand the cultures and traditions I encounter on my path. Through that experience, I convey messages of light and truth and of beauty”, said Tarshito. But is the message so simple? Is Tarshito’s appeal the art of the storytelling or the stories he has accumulated over years of insightful study and cultural immersion? What may have started out as experimentation has evolved into a force much more profound and moving. The beauty in Tarshito’s work is a combination of all these elements to produce an astounding impact of timelessness poised finely with transcendence. Ii
Offering Hand. Mixed media, kantha stitch on canvas 54 x 54 cm. 2014
Leading Image : The Vase, the Line and the Gold 2. Mixed media, acrylic, rubber, gold leef and kantha stitch on canvas 81 x 81 cm 2014
bengal gallery of fine arts, dhaka16 – 30 january, 2015 photos: mizanur rahman khoka and kamrul hasan mithon Nicola Strippoli Tarshito’s ‘Embroider the World’ exhibition weaves together legacies and heritages across cultures. Creation through cultural collaboration and appropriation is a major theme in all ofTarshito’s work but, Tarshito is also an innovator and inventor who…