Par Nair: Silk Sarees from India
Posted: Mar 22nd, 2023 | Gathering

In the video below, Par Nair responds to a 19th-century sari [T94.0803] from the Gujarat region in India. Par is currently in the process of creating a body of work entitled Letters of Haunting, wherein she hand-embroiders letters of love, frustration, longing, and reaching to her mother on silk saris. Par addresses the perpetual longing in diasporic subjects for the mother, the mother tongue and the motherland, the three mothers that make you whole. She is interested in exploring and researching melancholia in diasporic and migrant journeys using decolonial methods and a return to ancestral knowledge and practices. Through objects and memories that are both intimate and estranged, she wishes to consider the effects of assimilation and fragmentation that migrant experiences hold.  

Below is the image of the piece that inspired Par to create her response. Learn more about this piece in our online collection by clicking on the live link below.

Silk Saree/Dress [T94.0803]
Asia: South Asia, India, 1800 – 1899
From the Opekar / Webster Collection of the Textile Museum of Canada

Par Nair (she/her) is an Indian-born interdisciplinary artist and researcher who lives and makes in the GTA. Her practice which centers oil paintings, embroidery, installation, performative work and creative writing, focus on dual identities, hybrid cultures and fragmented realities of migrants. Nair has recently acquired her MFA in Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design from OCAD University. Her works have been shown at Project Casa (Montreal), Mayten’s Gallery (Toronto), Nielsen Park Creative Centre (Etobicoke), The Public (Toronto) and Propeller Art Gallery (Toronto). Nair is the recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2021-22), The Career Launcher Prize (2022) and Propeller Gallery’s Emerging Artist Award (2020). She currently holds the position of sponsored member at Propeller Art Gallery and assists the gallery with social media and marketing tasks. 

This work is created as part of Gathering, the inaugural installation of our new Collection Gallery, featuring community stories told through our global collection. Grounded in community participation, the installation presents over 40 pieces from the Museum’s permanent collection of over 15,000 objects from around the world. Choices of objects, responses, and retellings were gathered via open online calls for reflection, through partnerships with local organizations, and through artists’ interventions. Gathering explores themes related to migration and diaspora, the search for comfort in the domestic and familial, reclamation of ancestral traditions through contemporary artistic responses, and the relationship between textiles and the environment. 

This video is part of a digital project generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Now initiative.

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