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A medley of artworks

Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Kahawa has a wide variety of artefacts

KAHAWA, GALLERY for Design on Cunningham Road, comes across as an unconventional store. The store offers an interesting display of artefacts, clothes, paintings, and so on. These are displayed in an unconventional manner, in that the clothes, ceramic ware, and corner pieces are artistically placed rather than being stacked in a row. And some of the eye-catching designer saris and fabric get a dramatic display, here. The credit for which surely goes to Asha Rao and Nishi Rahaman, the people behind this store.

The two have been working together "for a long time". They started the ACT (Arts and Crafts Trust) and have organised several art melas, and decided to start Kahawa in October 2002 "to provide a platform for the young artists". Kahawa, in Sanskrit means a proverb, and the young designers from across the country get an opportunity to make a fashion statement with their creations. There are clothes by Sangeetha Desai from Mumbai, and kurtis by Ravina Belani. The latter is a collection of bright-coloured short kurtas in georgettes, cottons, and silk with gaada work (Parsi embroidery). Priced at Rs. 600 onwards, these are ideal for party wear. If you are keen on wearing matching accessories, there is the Plum Tree brand. Created and designed by Divya Jayant, this section offers the concept of matching bags, shoes, and accessories.

And if you have an eye for imported stuff, then the store surely will not disappoint. There are just a handful of exquisite crafts from Kenya, which are "available only as long as the stocks last". You can pick tiny figurines, necklaces, ceramic diffusers, and so on. These are priced Rs. 600 upwards. The scene-stealer is the beautiful Kenyan chess set. Made from soapstone, this regal looking set is priced at Rs. 7,500.

Then there are handmade paper lamps by Jeremy Pinto (Rs. 2,200 upwards), perfumed candles by Mini Arora (Rs. 50 onwards), ceramic ware from Pondicherry, and tribal combs from Orissa made from bamboo (Rs. 80).

Another interesting thing that one notices here is that the traditional goods get a dramatic facelift here. For instance, there are ordinary wire bags that are transformed into trendy handbags, and plain chatais (mats) that look exquisite with traditional silk zari borders, and so on. These mats are from the Design Store. There seems to be something to suit all kinds of pockets, be it an attractive agarbathi stand (Rs. 100) or a Pashmina shawl (Rs. 2,500). Another thing that is a rage is a bag covered with colourful strips of cloth.

Nishi adds that 10 per cent of the sale from Kahawa goes towards the artistic development fund.

Kahawa can be contacted on 2088004.

S.S.R.

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