Textile length decorated with beetle wings, India. Acquired 1883. Powerhouse collection. Photo by Zan Wimberley
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What's On:


On now – 3 June 2023

Unpopular draws stories of the alternative music scene of the 1990s from the never-before-seen archive of record company founder Stephen ‘Pav’ Pavlovic.
Closed exhibition

Charkha and Kargha

On now – 15 January 2023 Powerhouse Ultimo

Taking its title from Charkha (spinning wheel) and Kargha (loom), the exhibition will feature over 100 rare items that date back to the foundational collections of the Powerhouse acquired since the 1880s.

In addition to their beauty, many of the textiles featured in the exhibition incorporate spinning, weaving, dyeing and embroidery techniques. Highlights include block-printed textiles, known as Fustat fragments, believed to be made in Gujarat in the 1400s.

The exhibition will feature a recently acquired work by artist Sangeeta Sandrasegar, What Falls from View, 2019. The work features Khadi and silk pieces, hand-dyed in Indian indigo and Australian native cherry. Anu Kumar’s medium format photographs that document the Australian-Indian diaspora will be another highlight of the exhibition.

Charkha and Kargha will coincide with the 75th anniversary of India’s independence on 15 August. The exhibition will demonstrate the role that textiles played in India’s movement towards independence from colonial rule.

Charkha and Kargha will feature live demonstrations of spinning and weaving in the Textile Centre, talks on Indian textiles, masterclasses on textile weaving, dyeing and spinning, daily storytelling of Indian folktales and documentary film screenings in the Kings Cinema.

Charkha and Kargha is presented by Powerhouse with the support of the Consulate General of India, Sydney. Our sincere thanks to Associate Professor Dr. Chaitanya Sambrani of the School of Art and Design, Australian National University for his support as curatorial advisor. Thanks also to Liz Williamson and Christina Sumner for their advice. The exhibition was curated by Dr Pedram Khosronejad and assistant curator Alysha Buss with exhibition design by Hugh O’Connor. The project was managed by Anna Gardner and realised with the support of a multidisciplinary team of Powerhouse staff and collaborators.

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