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Kinetika has been commissioned by the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, known also as the Neasden Temple, to create ten bespoke batik silk scrolls for International Women’s Day. Women from the BAPS National Women’s Forum (UK), have been visiting the Kinetika studio at the High House Production Park in Purfleet, to attend special workshops to design, draw and paint the scrolls. The commission has been made possible by a grant from Arts Council England.
Kinetika’s creative director Ali Pretty and artist Lisa Meehan led introductory workshops for the women at the Neasden Temple in December. At these the designs for the scrolls were decided upon. Each scroll is 4 metres long and tells a story, highlighting the most important principles of the faith of the BAPS such as selfless service, knowledge and truth. Once the designs were finished the workshops moved to Purfleet and the waxing and painting began.
101 girls and women from the Temple, ranging in age from 11 to 62 years, are involved in the project to create the scrolls. There are college and university students involved alongside accountants, doctors, chiropodists and schoolgirls. Each scroll has a team of ten working on it and the groups are organised by WhatsApp messaging. Once finished the scrolls will be on display at the Neasden Temple on Sunday 10 March when BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir celebrates the tenth anniversary of its International Women’s Day event. The scrolls will then tour the UK, visiting other temples before returning to Neasden to be displayed at future events.
Rena Amin, Volunteer at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neaden said:
The notion of creating these artistic stories enables the community to appreciate the cultural heritage that Hindus offer to the UK. We are extremely grateful to Arts Council England for approving the grant and enabling women of all ages to learn a new skill and build their confidence via this creative medium.
Ali Pretty said ‘It has been an absolute pleasure meeting with, learning from and working with this wonderful team of women. They have such incredible leadership qualities alongside a wide range of creative skills that they have transferred into the silk painting process. We are so looking forward to seeing the scrolls on display at the Neasden Temple for its 10th International Women’s Day Celebrations on 10th March.”
The commission for the BAPS scrolls is a legacy from Kinetika’s Silk River project.
The silk used by Kinetika for the scrolls is cultivated and woven in Murshidabad in West Bengal. Kinetika came across this Indian silk in 2016 while working on Silk River. It is a richer texture and better able to hold colour than Chinese silk and Kinetika’s use of this silk has revived the silk weaving industry in Murshidabad.
To find out more about the Murshidabad silk including how it can be purchased from Kinetika, info is here: Murshidabad Silk
More information about BAPS: http://londonmandir.baps.org/
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All photos are by Mike Johnston and more of his photos of the project are here: Photo Gallery