Promise: The Family Portraits

Desmond Lazaro2016

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
Mumbai, India

In this work, viewers are invited to walk along a passage of fabric panels that depict artist Desmond Lazaro’s family history. The artist employs intricate embroidery in these works made in collaboration with Chennai-based, French embroiderer, Jean Francois Lesage that also references Pichvai traditions of lace work. A short film depicting archival family footage from Lazaro’s home in England reveals that the wallpaper print in his family’s ‘best’ room translates onto one of his fabric panels. The association between the images and patterns within his work appears to be linked ostensibly with the artists’ memories. The gold icon displayed on a wall quotes a message that was embedded on Lazaro’s grandfather’s passport enabling him to travel freely to England. In light of the ongoing immigration crisis, the work also comments on the difficulty and tribulation associated with free travel today.

The work was featured as part of the exhibition 'Connecting Threads: Textiles in Contemporary Practice'. The exhibition was curated by Tasneem Zakaria Mehta and Puja Vaish and attempts to trace textile practices, traditions and histories in Contemporary Indian Art.


  • Title: Promise: The Family Portraits
  • Creator: Desmond Lazaro
  • Date Created: 2016
  • Location: Special Projects Space
  • Type: Installation
  • Material: Installation with fabric panels, icon with gilded gold leaf, 5-minute video

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