About Us

The Ekavalli Foundation is a Kanakavalli initiative that endeavours to introduce new audiences to the multiple facets of the kanjivaram craft. In an effort to discover new ways to engage people in the elements and emotions that surround the kanjivaram – as a tradition and a way of life – Ekavalli explores varied forms of media, from art and illustration to photography and revival projects. It uses the kanjivaram as a focal point, and looks beyond the craft to create experiences, objects and media that enrich the audience’s understanding of the textile. Literally meaning a beautiful necklace of a single string, the Ekavalli vision is to weave together the many strands that make up the kanjivaram; to construct new platforms and possibilities, and to inspire a more nuanced appreciation of the craft. 

Over the years, Kanakavalli has worked closely with weavers in Kanchipuram, creating a brand that is synonymous with the finest kanjivaram saris, while nurturing the weaving community, reviving ancient designs and motifs, and establishing the kanjivaram as a category in and of itself. Recognising the revivalist and regenerative nature of much of Kanakavalli’s work, and acknowledging the need to chronicle these efforts, the Ekavalli Foundation was born. Beyond the preservation of the heritage through research and revival efforts, the Ekavalli Foundation seeks to identify and nurture emerging talent across the arts, to create multidisciplinary projects and initiatives that showcase, celebrate and document the kanjivaram craft. 

At The Ekavalli Foundation, we believe that revival goes beyond design and product. When we speak of revival, we are speaking of reviving of the very spirit of the kanjivaram—the exquisite skill, the rich heritage of the craft and the many stories woven into the sari’s drape. We endeavour to showcase and position the craft in a way that inspires the weavers, who possess incredible skill, to continue creating the extraordinary saris that they do. Unfortunately, in these times of increased mechanisation and commercialisation, weavers themselves often lose sight of the role they play in carrying forward a rich legacy. The Ekavalli Foundation views craftspeople and artists as keepers of memory, and we endeavour—through every single initiative—to give them reason to believe that their work is worth the labour.In a craft like the kanjivaram, skill and a sense of aesthetics always go together. The traditional weavers of Kanchipuram imbibe these on a very fundamental level, in a way that simply cannot be taught. Their skill is something that is passed on through the generations, and their deep sense of beauty is something they inherit and grow up with.

One of the greatest disconnects in our society is that we tend to equate education with skill. We believe that those with a formal education are skilled, thus marginalising entire communities of highly skilled craftspeople who might have little or no formal schooling. The fact is, there is little that organisations like ours can teach weavers whose parents, grandparents and great-grandparents before them have been honing their craft and passing down their knowledge. Instead, at Ekavalli, much of our work will strive to underline the immense value created by the weavers, helping them recognise their own role in and contribution to society at large. 

Spanning the past and the present, Ekavalli’s focus is on what goes into the making and showcasing of the kanjivaram; weaving stories and developing new lenses through which to curate initiatives, products and experiences that offer intriguing new perspectives into an ancient textile. Through media engagements, documentation and curation, Ekavalli aspires to be a rich and in-depth resource, immersing its audience in a multi-dimensional world that brings the kanjivaram to life.

The Ekavalli Foundation is a division of Kanakavalli Retail Venturess Pvt. Ltd