Besides being a trade fair jet setter, I am also an art junkie. I need regular arty fixes to make sure my emotions, brain and senses connect and function together.

Wherever I travel, I search not only for the big museums but also the small art galleries and events. In Bangalore,  as this is where I reside, I am allowed the luxury of a continued search, looking for and occasionally finding art in this high-tech and fast-moving city. My access point is Time Out Bangalore; I’m yet to find something more edgy. Bangalore is an intensely shiny city but, with determination, art can be found here and there.

Gallery Blue Spade programmed a painting exhibition in January/February featuring a local painter. It’s not far from the small Galleryske, which is more adventurous in its choice of artists compared to the others I’ve seen so far.

On a more classical yet institutionalised front, I think the National Gallery of Modern Art, which  opened recently, is worth a visit. It’s a nice summary of its sister gallery in Delhi and perhaps, if they have more visitors, they might open their cafe on Sundays. Not far away is the Veda Art Gallery, which I’m yet to explore.

Last week I caught the last days of ulm: method and design/ulm: school of design exhibition, held at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath School. Very refreshing! The exhibition traced the history of the Ulm School, presented as more than just a chronology. The structure of the teaching was clearly explained, there were several models and prototypes on show and a few video interviews of former tutors and students. I felt transported back to my student years in Paris and London; Ulm bears a broad influence in design teaching today. Interestingly this was organised by the Institute for Cultural Relations and the Goethe Institute Bangalore (and I’ve just discovered their wonderful rooftop cafe and good bread!).

At the Gandhi Smriti Memorial in Delhi, I felt like a little girl looking at the life of Gandhi recounted in miniature scenes displayed in delightfully vintage-looking TV-type cabinets. This place has recently opened a number of beautifully made interactive displays. However, I found all the interaction overwhelming. Maybe I’m too old… I don’t know if it was the number of things to play with, a lack of explanations or the keen staff that were very quick to demonstrate how to interact, which killed the discovery factor for me.

Entering the larger museums is like beginning a large, rich meal. I start with enthusiasm but slowly wane and become overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of things to see, read, learn, understand, take in and digest.

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There are some very interesting companies showing at Tex Style India 2010. Definitely a key event for companies seeking production of home furnishing products. Besides the usual items found in the average Indian souvenir shop or Emporium, everything textile can be made in India especially in the Panipat District.

Natural, organic, synthetic and mixed fibres, traditional and modern processes are all here from yarn to the final packaged product.

Business attitudes are quite open-minded and meet generally accepted international standards.

  • Copyright is respected
  • Minimum orders can be catered for in some instances, ie: larger and more complex pieces can be manufactured in dozens
  • Lead time: up to 15 days for sampling, 60 days for a first order
  • A diverse technology; some companies can provide both hand and machine made pieces
  • Business models are transparent and include artisan workers’ co-operatives, engineer-led textile companies and family businesses, amongst others

I was very sensitive to the ability of these business owners to take the time to explain how their manufacturing company works, how they enjoy collaborating with smaller companies, their understanding of and supply to European design brands and that they can be wary of buying agents.

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I’m off to the region of leather work. I will also be looking at homeware, textiles and rugs.

I am both curious and excited to attend my first trade fair in India. After Kolkata, I am heading to New Delhi then Agra which, besides being the home of the Taj Mahal, is the centre of quality leather slippers and leather footware making.

real green fake grass

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