AN internationally-respected artist will celebrate 30 years of working in communities around the world with an exhibition in Sunderland.

Ugandan-born textile artist Ranbir Kaur will mark three decades of working in the rangoli tradition with an exhibition starting on Saturday, October 13 at Sunderland Museum, Library and Winter Gardens. The exhibition, Life in Colour, will run until Sunday, January 6, 2019.

Rangoli is a traditional Indian art form used to decorate the ground in front of houses and places of worship to attract the Hindu Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi. It is usually made for festivals and special celebrations. Ranbir has taken this traditional art and adapted her approach according to the space she works in. As well as using traditional materials and patterns, she creates stunning contemporary designs using materials not usually associated with this art.

Although she has exhibited her work extensively in museums and galleries across the UK, this retrospective exhibition is the first time that Ranbir’s life as an artist has been celebrated. The exhibition brings together a wide range of textile pieces made using traditional techniques from embroidery, filigree, and mirror work to story banners and doll-making, all inspired by her South Asian heritage.

The central focus of Life in Colour will be an impressive site-specific rangoli, created with coloured sand, marbles, mirrors and buttons, especially for this retrospective exhibition.

Ranbir is in the Guinness Book of Record for creating the largest rangoli and the first ever floating rangoli on the water with British Water Ways and Craft Space. She also received the ‘Jewel of India’ award in recognition of her outstanding achievements and contribution in keeping Indian culture alive in the UK.

Throughout her career, Ranbir has shared her passion for colour, texture and design, creating an impressive portfolio of projects. She has worked with diverse communities across the UK and, through the design and installation of site-specific rangolis, in many countries across the globe, from Europe to Australia.

Ranbir said: “This exhibition has been two years in the making and I am so pleased to be finally showing my work here in the North East, especially at the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens. This retrospective presents pieces that haven’t been seen by the public before. It brings together the breadth of my work I have produced over the years and every piece has a little history, a story to tell.  I hope that through this exhibition the public would get a glimpse into my world – my world of colours and patterns.”

Abid Hussain, Director of Diversity at Arts Council of England, said: “Over a career spanning 30 years Ranbir Kaur has made an incredible contribution to the arts and cultural life of England. Her work has served as an inspiration to so many people across the country including myself.

“Her generosity of spirit and body of work is testimony to Ranbir the artist but also Ranbir the mother, mentor and community enabler whose work has crossed cultural and religious divides to inspire so many people who would otherwise not have engaged with arts and culture.”

Prior to the exhibition’s opening, Ranbir will host a series of free Art of Rangoli workshops to introduce the art form to Sunderland families. The first will take place at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens on Saturday, October 13 (11am – 12.30pm and then 1.3pm – 3pm).

The Cultural Spring will also host a free workshop at the CHANCE centre, 2 Rickaby Street in the city’s East End on Saturday, October 20 (11am – 3pm). To book places at this workshop, log on to the workshops section of the Cultural Spring’s website … www.theculturalspring.org.uk or ring 0191 427 8197.

Further workshops will be held at the Museum between November 5 and November 8. Go to www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/sunderland-museum-winter-gardens for details.

This exhibition has been made possible with generous support from Arts Council England National Lottery Funds, Sunderland Museum, Library and Winter Gardens and Friends of Sunderland Museum.

The Cultural Spring is an Arts Council England (ACE) funded project, which aims to increase participation in the arts both in Sunderland and South Tyneside.

The Cultural Spring’s four partners are the University of Sunderland; the Customs House, South Shields, Sunderland’s Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust and Sangini, a women’s organisation. The project works with five wards in Sunderland and five in South Tyneside.

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