Flight of Imagination

The Art of Embroidery by Asif Shaikh

Curated by Jasleen Dhamija

26th September - 10th October, 2015

Asif from his very childhood was fascinated by the art of embroidery. He watched his mother transforming a plain piece of cloth into an object of beauty. His childhood fascination with embroidery has become a life time passion and has built his reputation as the most creative artist the world over. With his background in design, combined with deep aesthetic awareness and meticulous attention to detail, Asif fuses fabric and embroidery into a unique art piece.

His study of Interior Design at the Centre for Environment Planning and Technology in Ahmedabad exposed him to the history of design and a range of different techniques. Asif combined his love of embroidery with the pursuit of excellence. His participation in seminars and workshops throughout the world, where international fabric artists participated, broadened his horizons and enriched his creative expressions. He wanted the world to recognise embroidery as a fine art.

Asif's work has been seen by people from all over the world and today his work is greatly valued by collectors and is a part of museum collections.

His current exhibition "Flight of Imagination" has its main installation the flight of birds. Asif has created the mystery of Conference of Birds of Attar, the great Sufi master. The congregation of birds took flight in search of themselves and entered into another world in the whirling circular flight of the Sirmurghs.

Asif uses natural materials to create his works. The woven peacock feathers, which form the base for some of his work, is enriched with the use of elytra beetle wings, which shimmer with the iridescent colour.

His white on white tree of life is ornamented on fine handwoven silk net further embellished with silk yarn using minute chain stitches which makes it stand apart.

His miniature embroidered pieces carry you through to the intricacies of his patterns, which have the quality of a miniature painting built up by minuscule stitches. They create an incredible aura of mystical beauty. It was when he was working with the revival of very fine quality of Mughal embroidery. This was the answer to his quest for creating some of the finest art pieces.

He creates miniatures using the needle and thread as his medium. His extraordinary refined work requires a magnifying glass to be seen in all its beauty.

His remark - "With passing years my encounter with the beautiful world of embroidery became stronger and my insight became deeper. Embroidery is what I live for and I will immerse myself in this mesmerising world."

He calls himself Eklavya, the lonely researcher, who has immersed himself in his work and become one with it.

Jasleen Dhamija

New Delhi, September 2015

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