One of the Ekavalli Foundation’s first initiatives, Vanam Singaram (Tamil for ‘the forest adorned’), is a kanjivaram colouring book. Born out of the desire to engage people in the forms and shapes that go into the embellishment of the kanjivaram, this beautifully crafted colouring book is a unique tribute to the heritage. Celebrating the kanjivaram’s every detail, Vanam Singaram draws you into its grammar, the aesthetics of its colours, and the myths and magic of its motifs.
The book celebrates the mystique of the craft, in a manner that is engaging and accessible to everyone. Inspiring a creative engagement with a textile tradition that is deeply rooted in our culture and history, Vanam Singaram welcomes those who are not familiar with the kanjivaram and its context, as much as it does aficionados of the craft. Through the medium of the colouring book, The Ekavalli Foundation hopes to encourage journeys of exploration and discovery that could be the beginnings of a deeper appreciation of the kanjivaram.
A labour of love, Vanam Singaram represents a journey of collaboration with Sri Palanivel, son of National Award-winning master weaver, the late Sri Veerappan. Sri Palanivel, an award-winning weaver himself, generously shared the exquisite drawings of his father, an icon in the small but significantly skilled world of weaving in Kanchipuram. Thus, every visual element in this colouring book is of great provenance, and a gift from a man whose deep knowledge of the kanjivaram is reflected in the fine artistry of his works.
Vanam Singaram features the kanjivaram’s classic motifs, drawn from nature to represent flora and fauna, and from stylised forms such as the paisley, as well as the distinctive geometric patterning found in its weaves. It delves into the detail of its borders, the geometry of its corner motifs and the fascinating dynamic between every visual element on the drape. With sections detailing the traditional colours of the sari and its anatomy, Vanam Singaram attempts to capture the essence of the kanjivaram in graphic form. It is a unique resource, providing a new context to explore the intricacies of the drape, through a medium that is creative, imaginative and relevant in a contemporary landscape.