At the heart of this edition of the State of Fashion Biennale is a decentralised structure. Ties that Bind has unfolded across four places: the home site here in Arnhem, as well as in three sister sites in Kenya, India, and Brazil. In each sister site, an interlocutor-curator – Sunny Dolat in Nairobi, Kallol Datta in Bengaluru, and Hanayrá Negreiros in São Paulo – was invited to develop a Ties that Bind project embedded in their local context and community. Their thoughtful, powerful exhibitions happened in March and April 2024, and highlights from each one are presented in Arnhem.

In Bengaluru, what you wear makes you a marker of your community. Donning a pair of jeans could mean you lose your life to violence. Children miss school because of unwashed uniforms, thanks to zero water supply. The exhibition … of involution, of languor… took place against a landscape where the body, the cloth and the act of swaddling oneself are and always will be political. Artists Indu Antony, Rujuta Rao and Swati Kalsi bring care to the forefront of their artistic and research projects.

In a region where water is seen as a conduit to spiritual cleanliness, and as a means to attaining purity, Indu Antony and the women of Namma Katte address its scarcity by repurposing used clothing to highlight the structural inequalities in their everyday lives. Rujuta Rao uses the language of preservation, of bottling, to explore complex human conditions – macerating textile and non-textile belongings of her loved ones. Textile designer Swati Kalsi’s creative research examines the potential of forming a radical system of knowledge-sharing between herself and the craftspeople she works with, forging channels of care through assistance in technology, upskilling and design research.

Highlights from State of Fashion 2024 | …of involution, of languor… can be seen at Rembrandt Theatre during the Biennale’s run in Arnhem.

…of involution, of languor…, Bengaluru, India
1ShanthiRoad, 19 March – 1 April 2024
Gecureerd door / Curated by Kallol Datta

Indu Antony
Swati Kalsi
Rujuta Rao

Kallol Datta
Kallol Datta is a maker with an emphasis on creative research of clothing practices native to the SWANA region, the Indian subcontinent and the Korean Peninsula. His clothing practice presents garments as a conduit for personal agency and expression.

Whilst living and working in Kolkata, Kallol has chosen Bengaluru as his interlocutor site. He intends to work with local artists whose work centres on using craft to create safe centres of community and knowledge exchange.

Swati Kalsi

Kalsi has worked for over two decades with Indian artisans, as part of international social development projects, as well as within her own fashion atelier. Her research focuses on how Indian crafts – from embroidery to weaving, dyeing, or leatherwork – might prosper in a time where technological progress and mechanisation render handiwork precarious.