Tracing culture

Fashion designer Neethu Krishnan hand-painted a total of 68 Indian folk-art forms on a six-yard long handloom saree

author_img Arya U R Published :  07th January 2022 12:53 PM   |   Published :   |  07th January 2022 12:53 PM

Fashion designer Neethu Krishnan hand-painted a total of 68 Indian folk-art forms on a six-yard long handloom saree

KOCHI: For Neethu Krishnan G a fabric becomes elegant when it meets tradition. Her label Navami is popular among the masses for its signature hand-painted fabric designs. Being in the fashion industry for the last six years the designer recently added a feather to her cap. Neethu has three records to her name now- India Book of Records, Asia Book of Records, and International Book of Records for etching the maximum number of Indian folk-art paintings on a saree. The prestigious records are a rarity in the fashion world. 

On a six-meter pure handloom saree, Neethu has selflessly unleashed her creativity. 68 age old folk art painting style from all across the country including Pichwai, Warli, Pithora, Kalamkari and Batik is beautifully painted on this masterpiece with her bare hands. According to Neethu, this novel attempt was also another way of knowing her country. “Being a designer who specializes in handpainted fabrics, the cultural elements and vibrancy of the folk art have always mesmerised me.

Instead of painting common styles like mural art, I wanted to take a different route on fabrics this time. When I checked if any such records were set previously, it turns out that none has attempted this many number of paintings on a canvas either,” says Neethu. For the Thiruvananthapuram-native this is a humble attempt to support the skilled and unknown artisans across the country who strives to keep the age-old art form alive. Fabric colours, mirrors and stone embellishments are used for intricate detailings. 

Neethu underwent a thorough research on the folk-art paintings. Rather than just incorporating the folk-art plainly on the saree, she did a fair share of research on the designs to understand its meaning and origin as well “In West Bengal Chaksudan art form painting is drawn on the walls of most of the houses to dispel evil spirits. I have tried to include two to three folk art paintings of each state,” adds Neethu who completed the work in seven days. 

Neethu admits that portraying the myriad culture on a single piece was a herculean task. The fashion aficionado is looking forward to release some of her future collections inspired by these Indian folk art forms. “I have plans to team up with the artisans whom I met during my research,” says Neethu.