Chal Mele Chaliye!

How creative founders of the Punjabi conceptual brand 1469 and Phulkari revivalists, Harinder Singh and Kirandeep Kaur innovated a movement called ‘Mela Phulkari’
“The Mela will start from 1pm onwards and will see vibrant phulkari, art installations on Punjab and folk music & dance.”

TWELVE years back, when Delhi-based entrepreneurs Harinder Singh and Kirandeep Kaur started with their first of a kind Punjabi conceptual brand ‘1469’, little did they know that they had given birth to a movement, one that celebrates the rich and exquisite art and culture of Punjab.

“In our journey with 1469, we discovered the beauty and character of the baaghs that were embroidered as part of their daily chores by the women of Panjab,” shares Singh. Sadly, over the years this characteristic experiential craft which had an emotional and social connect with the people dwindled into a commercial embroidery technique of phulkari. In this scenario, this husband-wife duo decided to work on a two-pronged approach to preserve and proliferate this craft. One, was to collect, restore and revive as many old pieces they could get hold of. Patterns on these pieces were then saved digitally. Two, they took upon the task of uplifting the quality of the existing technique of making phulkari in the hinterland of Panjab.

“Every baagh we collected had a story woven in it. For instance, the vari da baagh is made for the newly wed bride. The surajmukhi baagh is presented on the birth of a son. The sainchi, thirma, baawan, chope – all had a story to tell. We wanted to showcase this craftsmanship to the world,” tells Singh. So, when they shared their collection of baaghs and passion for Panjab with art curator and consultant Dr Alka Pande, she decided to curate an exhibition of the same in the visual arts gallery at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Thus began the movement called ‘Mela Phulkari’.

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