As the Ackland Museum opens a new exhibit on contemporary art in India, the museum’s store will give shoppers a chance to explore artisanal works from the country.
The Ackland Museum Store is bringing in an array of Indian products to sell in conjunction with the museum’s new show, “The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989.” The museum will have political art, but the store’s display will be called “India Bazaar” and will feature handcrafted goods made in India.
Time: Today through Jan. 5
Location: Ackland Museum Store, Franklin Street
It will run for the same period as the exhibit — Friday through Jan. 5.
“The gallery space in the store is sometimes different than what’s in the museum,” said Melinda Rittenhouse, assistant manager for the store.
“But this time we felt for a show like this, it was really important and that it would be really fun to have a bazaar to go along with the show.”
Alice Southwick, the store’s manager, said bazaars are a common marketplace format in India.
“(People in India) are not going to go to department stores and grocery stores — they go to a designated area in their village,” she said.
Southwick said she sought goods for the exhibit from a variety of different sources — including agencies and global marketplaces in New York.
One of the suppliers was UNC alumna Marissa Heyl, with her company Symbology Clothing.
The business takes design and product ideas from artists in India and combines them with fashions more commonly found in western marketplaces.
“It was serendipitous,” Heyl said about how she got involved with the museum store’s exhibit.
“We had been meaning to go over there for a while to the gift shop to see if we could sell some of our products there.”
Heyl said her timing with getting in contact with the store and the India Bazaar exhibit was perfect.
She is selling scarves, but there are many more goods being sold. Besides textiles, there are also items of metalwork, jewelry, books and paper.
“We’ve got a lot of books about India, some for children, some for adults (and) we’ve got Indian cookbooks,” Southwick said.
“It’s really quite an array of items.”
Rittenhouse said her favorite products are the paper items.
“These are just amazing — beautiful designs, amazing colors, very well priced — so I think they’re very accessible,” she said.
Southwick said the products are handmade but are made at a higher level of design than normal handmade goods, but the prices are still affordable.
“I think there’s something here almost for everyone,” she said.
She also suggested the store as a place to do some holiday shopping — especially for interesting and unique gifts.
Rittenhouse said the purchases help support the museum, and the exhibit in the store complements the exhibit in the museum.
“I think it just adds another layer to the experience of the museum,” she said.
And Southwick agrees.
“I would love it if they come and see the bazaar in conjunction with seeing the exhibit at the museum because that’ll mean a lot more,” she said.
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