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    Apparao Galleries turns the spotlight on handwoven apparel from the Indonesian island.

    OUR obsession with silk is not merely matched, but surpassed, by our Balinese counterpart’s reverence for the handwoven geringsing and songket fabrics. The geringsing is, in fact, the double ikat, which, interestingly, is spun extensively in Pathan, Gujarat. Nuggets about similarities such as these—between India and Bali in the area of textiles—will be the focus of The Yarn Club’s forthcoming talk, on July 22. Sharan Apparao, gallery owner, says, “This is one of the many textile talks that we conduct at Apparao Galleries. Through these, we aim to forge a close connect with Indian textiles.”

    Matching cultures
    The cultural similarity between the two countries has a lot to do with the maritime trade route that existed centuries ago, explains Renuka Vaidyanathan, who will deliver the talk. A former banker, the Singapore-based 52-year-old says her interest in Balinese traditions spiked when she started her resort, Being Sattvaa, in Bali two years ago.

    Talk of the town
    In the upcoming event, she will focus on the three fabrics used predominantly in Indonesia—geringsing, batik and songket. “To the Balinese, these are more than just fabrics. They see it as a manifestation of the divine. They believe that wrapping a sick child in double ikat can heal,” she says. The word geringsing translates to ‘ no disease’. “The double ikats and songkets are also used in ceremonies, to wrap shrines and stones of religious significance,” she informs us. In common usage, the handspun geringsing serves extensively as sarongs. “That, and batik—which originated in neighbouring Java,” she adds. If these are everyday wear, special occasions brought out the songket fabric, which is very similar to the brocades from Benaras. Much like the Indian sari, the Balinese outfits do not require stitched garments, she adds.
    Ahead of the talk, Vaidyanathan plans to visit Balinese villages, including Tenganan Pegeringsingan, for samples. “Tenganan is home to Bali Agas, who consider themselves true descendants of the pre-Hindu Balinese, and are involved in handweaving double ikat,” she says.

    Entry free. At Apparao Galleries. On July 22, 6.30 pm. Details: 9941012380

    — Sharadha Narayanan

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