The Bombay Weaves; detail

Sharmila Samant2015

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
Mumbai, India

This interactive work draws attention to the handmade production of textiles through the loom, while creating a fabric that metaphorically represents the varied demographic of the city. Samant has referred to the clay models in the Museum’s collection that showcase Mumbai’s diverse communities from the late 19th - early 20th century. Many of the clay models were modelled from ethnographic prints and studio photographs published during the colonial period to document the communities of Mumbai. Referring to these historical categorizations of community profiles, Samant’s work reflects on what such classifications mean from a contemporary perspective, and invites visitors to consider their own syncretised identities.

The Bombay Weaves is a metaphor for the various cultures and communities that together form the fabric of Mumbai. P.P Raju, from the Chendamangala Handloom Weavers Co-operative, is a master weaver who operates the handloom, and is the collaborator on this project. A spool of coloured thread is assigned to each of the communities and visitors are encouraged to participate by leaving their name and the number of the spool that represents their community or a group that they feel an affinity towards.

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: The Bombay Weaves; detail
  • Creator: Sharmila Samant
  • Date Created: 2015
  • Location: Industrial Arts Gallery
  • Type: Installation
  • Material: Handloom, 50 Spindles

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