Bougainvillea, A Creative Verandah
Bougainvillea, the Creative Veranda, is run by Ishita Parikh, that invites exhibitions from high art to craft, established as a venue for generating conversation among artists, artisans, makers and the public; a veranda for a creative story.
The gallery sits down a lane of Gulbai Tekra, central Ahmedabad, in an apartment left to Ishita by her grandmother. As a means to continue the life and vibrancy of a place filled with memory, it has been transformed into gallery and studio space. The split levels of the apartment work to separate private working spaces from public gallery, which opens into a cozy garden that occupies the corner of the plot, nestled against the street.
We spoke to Ishita Parikh, to understand her views on contemporary design culture.
Bandhani (exquisite traditional tie dye techniques) excites me. Since childhood I have been drawn to it. The typical older bandhanis you would get were actually made by tying a single mustard seed for each band, which makes the result incredibly precise. One nice thing about how the technique has expanded through designers is that now it is not only available in sarees and dupattas, but also in many other types of clothing, and in many different kinds of experiments that move beyond a traditional ethnic aesthetic.
I feel the strength of Indian crafts lies in its diversity , rich patterning and variety of fabrics. The challenges are fine skills are becoming harder to find .
Start of a Journey
I collaborated with my brother who is a photographer to curate my first show and open the space to public. Initially it was an abstract idea, what I wanted the space to be. I wanted to collaborate with a few who met the sensitivity and aesthetics of the space. So far I have invited fashion and wellness brands and also held some art and cultural evenings like the Red Dress Project where a Brazilian kathak dancer who travels the world and addresses global issues through her performances.
With my past experience of being a Designer in Gujarat, I had access to the many incredible approaches and experiments that people are making here and around India, and opening the gallery was a way for me to bring these distinctive people and their work together. As a curated platform, the gallery connects creatives to a wider audience in Ahmedabad.
Bougainvillea is not a store. It’s a cozy venue for events, whose layout allows multiple modes of exhibition for many media – from ceramics to painting, clothing to Jewelery, furniture and workshops. At the same time, as a transformation of a modern apartment, with a careful link to private garden, each show is presented as a place inhabited, rather than a set of objects on display.
People are more conscious and aware of what is available, and at the same time, there is a growing market for individual designers and a recognition of the value of work happening here in India. This increasing visibility has worked together with varied client groups in different areas. I bring my own aesthetic to the curation, which also hones the expectation for what comes to Bougainvillea.