Reimaging Varvara Stepanova

By Shukla Sawant

Curator’s Note: In this design, a version of a dress by the Russian avant-garde artist Varvara Stepanova who designed clothes for working women, Shukla Sawant makes functional improvements to the kurta. It does not suffer from what a lot of designs aimed at women seem to be missing—pockets. The cuffs too, look like it could hold items. And in what looks like a statement button/brooch, we might find a version of a tie pin for a scarf. It seems to invoke the kaftans and tunics of West Asia, the Japanese haori, the Bhutanese gho, and the African boubou.

Shukla Sawant is a visual artist and Associate Professor of Visual Studies (since 2015) at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. ​​Her areas of interest and specialization include contemporary art of South Asia, art in colonial India, photography and print cultures, new media practices, artists’ collectives and organizations, post-colonial criticism and historiography.

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