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Exhibition Program: Textiles as Community Empowerment in South Asia

Woman with adult students sewing
Photo courtesy of Hushnohana


Artists are interpreting traditional textile techniques, patterns, and motifs in fresh ways that empower communities and build cultural understanding. In this online program, artists and community organizers from across South Asia come together for a discussion of how textiles reinforce community ties while simultaneously crossing the political borders of the subcontinent. Elizabeth Chacko, GW professor of geography and international affairs, will join this group of cultural leaders, adding her perspective on linkages between transnationalism and development. The discussion will be moderated by Cristin McKnight Sethi, curator of the exhibition Handmade: Creating Textiles in South Asia.

About the Exhibition

Artists, cooperatives, and workshops across Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan are creating new textile designs inspired by centuries-old traditions. Organized by GW art history professor Cristin McKnight Sethi, Handmade: Creating Textiles in South Asia shares artist stories alongside vibrant examples of handmade saris, scarves, and other garments. Opening date to be announced.

About the Panelists

Anita Reddy, founder of DWARAKA in Southern India

Mahua Lahiri, artist and founder of Hushnohana in Kolkata, India

Noorjehan Bilgrami, founder of KOEL Gallery in Pakistan

Shahid Shamim, founder of Prabartana in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Elizabeth Chacko, professor of geography and international affairs at GW

Cristin McKnight Sethi, assistant professor of art history at GW (moderator)

How to Participate

To participate, simply sign up here, and we will email you a link and instructions for joining the discussion on Zoom. 

About the Series

In this three-part virtual series, meet the artists and organizers featured in the exhibition Handmade: Creating Textiles in South Asia through dynamic conversations moderated by curator Cristin McKnight Sethi and faculty from GW. This series is a collaboration with the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at GW's Elliott School of International Affairs. Browse upcoming programs