A priceless collection of Assamese muga sarees, silk sarees and mekhlas by revivalist Sampa Das is being showcased at Jhaal Farezi, the restored bungalow which once was her home and is now a happening eatery. It is on for two days, 22 and 23 August from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The presence of leading actress Rituparna Sengupta, in one of Sampa’s creations added special lustre to the exhibition. Rituparna has over the years been a true supporter of Sampa’s Assamese muga and silks.
Sampa has spent half a century working with Assamese handloom and has been reviving the precious Muga silks of Assam, going to the weaving region of Soalkuchi, visiting museums to cull out rare patterns and then spending time with weavers to rework these ancient designs.
Muga, the golden silk, rich in texture and sheen, was worn at one time only by royalty. An Assamese asset, it is nurtured and unravels itself through the fabulous traditional designs inspired by nature—trees, tendrils, flowers and leaves, peacocks and other birds and animals and geometric tribal motifs.
Today, Assam’s muga has been added to the list of products granted the protection of geographical indication. This GI status gives it a new bearing, for it is granted when a product is distinctively linked to a region or endemic to popular culture.
Muga silk is hardy, endures for years, often outliving its owner, but its sheen and lustre increase with every hand wash .The saris are weighty and costly too. Considering the fact that it takes two months and 725 to 1,000 gm of silk to make each sari, it is not difficult to figure out why the creations cost so much.
The bridal mekhla chador is a prized possession of most girls from Assam and a large selection has been available at the exhibition. It is access to revived tradition provided by Sampa that can give the impetus to weavers to continue to create new wonders from this golden thread, and assure the possessor of such saris that they have something that is more than its weight in gold.
Handloom, as an integral warp of the nationalist movement, has been part of her weft, born as Sampa has been into the family of freedom fighters. A fascinating cameo is the wedding of her parents where her mother wore a white khaddar saree with a red border and her father was in khaddar, too. And the first ever saree that was gifted to her when she was just eleven-was spun in khaddar.
Sampa Das has travelled with her collection to Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit, New York, New Jersey, Toronto, Houston. She has also been asked to exhibit by the Council of Karnataka and has also participated in Bridal Asia.
For further details kindly contact Shilpi Jaiswal at 9830884616.