Silk Art – Saba’s attempt at Historiography

Silk Art – Saba's attempt at Historiography

Srinagar: Historiography or the art of telling history has been a serious task of the historians since ages. Though the recent era has seen a prodigious transition that the various media of art have been used to expound the historical narratives.

Movies, photography, oral histories and paintings have been used as the different ways to narrate the past. A similar kind of attempt at historiography was made by a Kashmiri visual artist, Saba Altaf, when she exhibited her artwork at ‘SIFER’ – an art exhibition that took place on Sunday at Nigeen Club, Srinagar.

Saba Altaf, a self-taught artist, pursuing BFA from University of Kashmir, had painted her artwork on a silken scarf which was placed on a Mannequin (dressed in Silken attire). There were photographs pasted on a wall next to the mannequin which depicted the story of Kashmir’s famous Silk Factory.

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On the concept note, Saba had explained her childhood obsession over the butterflies which led her to read about them and their life cycles. And through which she got to know about ‘Silkworms and Silk in Kashmir’.

When asked about the Silken attire, she replied “I used silk scarf because it has the handcrafted signatures of centuries old family lineage indelibly ingrained in every stitch.”

“Srinagar’s Silk Factory — set up more than 120 years ago by Dogra ruler Maharaja Pratap Singh in Solina Srinagar was once world’s largest factory, which once exported only to Europe, now lies empty. It might get another shot at glory if it’s resurrected. The buildings, made of mud, brick and wood, are crumbling but the signs of splendor are still visible. The period from 1890 to 1920 is known as a period of silk bloom in Kashmir”, read her concept note.

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“What I have tried to portray on scarf is the beauty of which once was known as the world’s largest silk factory that is lost somewhere as if it never existed,’’ says Saba.

Saba Altaf, born in 1993, started connecting with art when she was only 6. For her, art is a way to pay tribute and express her feelings. She works with different mediums such as graphite, charcoal, watercolors, poster, acrylic and inks. She is also having a good hand in Calligraphy, Sculpture and Graphic Designing.

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