Your cart
Close Alternative Icon

HUSHNOHANA | Revival and Contemporary Nakshi Kantha of Undivided Bengal

Arrow Thin Left Icon Arrow Thin Right Icon
HUSHNOHANA | Revival and Contemporary Nakshi Kantha of Undivided Bengal
Through Hushnohana, Lahiri carries forward the legacy of her mother and nakshi kantha artist, Padma Shri Pritikana Goswami. With origins in eastern Bengal (now Bangladesh), Goswami inherited the kantha technique through her family. Her work, with its fine attention to detail, caught the eye of Ruby Pal Choudhury, Craft Revivalist at the Crafts Council of West Bengal, in 1990. There she was introduced to nakshi kantha from historical sources. At the age of 64, 33 years later, Goswami, was recognized for her revival of the nakshi kantha of Bengal. Today her faithful reproductions are in the collections of the V&A Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and The Textile Museum, Washingtion DC

Mahua Lahiri, a graduate of Leather Design from NIFT Kolkatta (2003-2007) had a thriving career leading design at export houses, before she gave it up to co-found Hushnohana in 2016 with Suparna Sen following an epiphany: “I grew up surrounded by kantha, but I resented it. Not only were kantha artisans like my mother not paid enough, they were not credited by name. In 2015 I saw indigenous crafts recognized at an international level in Amsterdam. It made me realize that "if I cannot respect my mother’s work, no one else is going to respect it,” says Lahiri.

Speaking of what design means to Lahiri, she says, “While designing contemporary nakshi kantha, I keep in mind the power to be a storyteller, using its signature vocabulary. I would like to represent the identity of Bengal through conserving the authentic stitches and styles of nakshi kantha, finished with the fine traditional ‘ripple- effect’ quilting that joins layers of cloth. It is a work of art.”

“Once functional and decorative, Nakshi kantha is emerging as a narrative textile art form, with the potential for artist-artisans to express their own stories and lived realities. Traditional repositories of memory and emotion, these objects carry identity. It is time to value it in India, not only as an heirloom revival, using inherited techniques tools and materials, but as an art form,”

- Radhi Parekh, Founder Director, ARTISANS’.