Through Indian Eyes

Designer Ishan Khosla and embroiderer Sajnu Ben design the Sangam logo

Designer Ishan Khosla and embroiderer Sajnu Ben design the Sangam logo


Diego Bonetto from Big Fag Press will join an expert panel who will navigate a curious story about an Indian designer who arrives in Australia with the objective of reviving a dying craft.

Facilitated by film maker, television writer, on-air presenter, Nell Schofield.

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
500 Harris Street Ultimo
1 November, 2012
6.30pm – 8pm (doors open from 6pm)
$15, $12 members

More information and bookings here.

There has been much focus on saving traditional creative art forms and technologies in countries like India, where urbanisation has a dramatic impact on traditional lifestyles. But what if we reverse the situation? Do we in Australia have skills outmoded by modern technology that could be channelled into creative expression?

From the perspective of our Indian traveller bent on reviving outmoded printing techniques this hypothetical will uncover some of the issues and conundrums that arise as he attempts to bring new life to a dying skill.

Is it possible his attempts will lead to enriching our living cultural heritage or will it perpetuate drudgery for the sake of nostalgia without any chance of creating a viable and sustainable practice?

What government, institutional and business mechanisms need to be in place to make his dream a reality?

Panellists include Diego Bonetto (visual artist and member of Big Fag Press collective), Jane Burns (former Director of Craft Australia), Sally Campbell(Indian textiles designer, businesswoman), Lindy Joubert (Foundation director, UNESCO Observatory), Ishan Khosla (Designer, founder of Ishan Khosla Design, New Delhi, India), Pawan Luthra (CEO Indian Link Media Group) and Christina Sumner (Principal curator, Powerhouse Museum).

Presented in partnership with Sangam: Australia India Design Platform

About the speakers

Nell Schofield is a NIDA graduate who, since 1997, has worked as a writer and on-air presenter with the subscription television channel Showtime. From 2007-08 she was the film reviewer for Channel 9′s flagship program Sunday. On CNN International she appeared as the Australasian presenter of The Art Club and Hot Spots. For five years Ms Schofield worked as a reporter for ABC TV’s weekly arts program Review and her voice is still heard on that channel’s popular program Media Watch. Curator and producer of several video works, Ms Schofield has also been a board member of Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design and is currently a director of the Tamarama Rock Surfers Theatre Company.

Diego Bonetto is a Sydney-based multimedia artist who is a key member of artists’ collectives SquatSpace and the BigFAGPress. The BigFagPress is a salvaged 4-tonnes off-set proof press. The press allows for the creation of artworks by printmakers and self-starting publishers. The SquatSpace collective has been producing ground-breaking events and projects since 2000. The group has been curated in exhibitions both in Australia and overseas. Diego Bonetto’s art practice encompasses socially engaged projects like the Redfern/Waterloo Tour of Beauty and environmental campaigns with the Weedy Connection project, which argues for a more culturally aware interpretation of the landscape. Diego Bonetto was awarded the Arts NSW 2008 Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship.

Jane Burns was founding director of the Crafts Council of Australia from 1972-92. The Craft Council was the apex of the crafts industry infrastructure and a non-government organisation with responsibility to develop and influence policies and programs to support and expand all sections of the contemporary crafts of Australia. Jane Burns was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to the crafts (1988) and she was awarded the Emeritus Medal, Visual Arts/Craft Board, Australia Council (1992) and made an Honorary Member of the World Crafts Council (1992). Ms Burns has been a founding board member of Arts Law Centre; National Association for the Visual Arts; National Arts Industry Training Council and Australian Academy of Design.

Sally Campbell is a textile designer. Her label Sally Campbell Handmade Textiles specialises in fabrics from India that are often hand-dyed, hand-stitched, hand-woven and hand block-printed. She travels regularly to remote communities, working closely with artisans who specialise in various traditional crafts. Ms Campbell has worked with women who create appliqué in the desert near Pakistan, natural dye block-printers in Rajasthan, village weavers in Bengal and Hyderabad, and women who do intricate hand embroidery in Lucknow. Ms Campbell has been featured in many leading homewares magazines including Vogue Living, Home Beautiful, In Style, Notebook and Marie Claire.

Lindy Joubert is Foundation Director of the UNESCO Observatory on Multi-Disciplinary Research in the Arts and Board member of the World Craft Council. She worked as a consultant at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris 2000 – 2003; was Director of the Asia Pacific Confederation for Arts Education and led teams for the Community Arts Development Scheme Evaluation for VicHealth; the Arts Health Strategy for the Australia Council and the Healing Arts project across Children’s Cancer Centres and for the Creative Arts at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Victoria. Ms. Joubert is currently working with a University of Melbourne research team on the arts and health for Timor Leste and promoting the UNESCO Observatory Cultural Village program.

Ishan Khosla completed an MFA in Design at the School of Visual Arts, New York then worked in design studios in Chicago and New York. Moving back to India in 2008, he started his own design firm, Ishan Khosla Design which is now considered one of the leading design studios in India. A finalist of the prestigious Young Creative Entrepreneur Award (British Council), his company’s work has been published in Asian Graphics Now! (Taschen); Stop, Think, Go, Do by Steve Heller and Mirko Illic; Output Foundation Annual; Graphis Annual; Logo Lounge 6 and Master Series (Rockport). His design practice is characterised by an engagement with India’s cultural heritage through craft, creating a contemporary and yet very Indian version of design. Past and future, crafts and technology have become vital components to his practice.

Pawan Luthra received a University of Delhi Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Economics and has studied at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, Executive Education Strategic Leadership Program. Mr Luthra is the CEO of the Indian Link Media Group. Indian Link newspaper was established in 1994 and is the leading Indian Australian media organisation, with a fortnightly Sydney newspaper and monthly editions for all major Australian states. In 2002 Indian Link Radio was launched – the first 24/7 Indian radio station to be broadcast in Sydney and Melbourne. A subscription-based radio, it has become a talking point within the Indian Australian community. Mr Luthra is a regular media commentator on various issues affecting the Indian Australian community.

Christina Sumner is Principal Curator Design and Society at the Powerhouse Museum and a member of the Museum’s curatorial team since 1985. Her research interests span the traditional cultures and textiles of Western, Central, South and Southeast Asia as well as Europe and Australia. She has curated numerous exhibitions for the Museum on the textiles and other arts of the Asian region, most recently Beyond the Silk Road: arts of Central Asia in 1999, Trade winds: arts of Southeast Asia in 2001 and Bright flowers: textiles and ceramics of Central Asia in 2004, also co-authoring their associated publications.

This event can be heard live through Indian Link Radio

Eloise Lindeback