GAMCHA

HISTORY

 

ORIGAMI

By the Edo period (1603–1868), paper folding in Japan had become recreational as well as ceremonial, often featuring multiple cuts and folds. It came to be regarded as a new form of art that was enabled by the advent of paper both mass-produced and more affordable. Written instructions for paper folding first appeared in 1797, with Akisato Rito’s Sembazuru Orikata, or “thousand crane folding.” In 1845, Adachi Kazuyuki published a more comprehensive compilation of paper folding with Kayaragusa; by the late 1800s, the term for paper folding had morphed from orikata (“folded shapes”) to origami.

 

GAMCHA 

[গামছা ga – body, mocha – wipe ] is a thin, coarse, traditional cotton towel from Bangladesh. It is a bath towel not as thick as Western-style towels and better suited to the country’s tropical, humid climate. Gamcha is a handloom product, most commonly found with check and striped coloured patterns of red, orange or green. The gamcha is rich in references to cultural heritage and geography and used in a series of functions ranging from bath towels to saree. Perfect as bath or beach towels,they can also be used as tablecloth and wrapping clothes or bags.Gamchas can be turned into an effective weapon against wolves, wild dogs or feral dogs or dacoits, by knotting a large stone pebble into one end and using it like bolas.

 

Gamcha is a very common daily use object. Walking through the street of Villages in Bangladesh is very common to find striped colorful gamcha hanging out the windows to dry

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Niharika Momtaz (b 1972)

Origami , 2020-21

Size |42" x 23"

Material |Cotton with Zaree and AZO free coloured threads

Master Artisan | Md. Abu Saeed Pramanik, Md. Saidul Islam & Md. Zahangir Alom

 

Inspirations 

Inspired by the Origami of the 1800s. Origami is the recreational Japanese art of paper folding. Gamcha - the quintessential robe of villagers, one without which life ceases to function. This simplicity is history, one that reverberates through the greens and yellow fields,  through watersheds and wetlands. The Origami motif is extraordinarily exquisite - the first of its kind to adorn this piece of art. It is a bond between raw naked nature and the artist's soul. A bond that developed through the inhalation of earth, wind and fire - the elements that are building blocks of all life form. Gamcha - a story of life!

The Backdrop >

Best possible raw materials were utilized  and for the first time, motif was used on a Gamchha, making this a wearable art. It was a big challenge as the Gamchha “Karigors” have never done the same. So it was an experiment for us, which took months to figure out how and to convince the Weavers that it’s possible.

Bio

Niharika Momtaz’s rise as an entrepreneur, art connoisseur, fashion and jewelry designer is a story befitting a fairytale.  Hailing from an upscale neighborhood of Chittagong, Bangladesh, Niharika stepped into the domain of clothing design at the very early age of 18! The stint was brief and after having veered into the world of corporate finance for a decade, she has once again resumed her passionate path by designing jewelry and fashion labels. Came year 2012 and her jewelry labels Outliner and 1972 Couture jewelry were launched from this inspiration. Point to note that as a profession she did her Chartered accountancy Article ship with KPMG Bangladesh. She worked for an NGO called ‘Acid Survivors Foundation’ As Head of Finance &  Fund Raising from 2000 to 2008. Since the beginning of her journey as a designer, she enjoyed making wearable art including sculptural Jewelry. This is the first time she designed free standing sculptures for this particular project involving local artisans. Niharika has showcased her collections at various international fashion shows in London, Turkey, Colombo, Cannes, Singapore, Dubai, Doha, Dhaka and Chottogram. She also has arranged a number of photo exhibitions, art exhibitions and fashion shows in different capacities. She was always keen to express her designing skills and interest in art. Her other endeavor is to promote art, culture & Heritage. She is the founder of Bangladesh Art Week (BAW) and Heritage Bangladesh Foundation.