This embroidered tapestry was initiated after a period of studies in India, in 2018.

During that period, I was studying textile design and travelling as much as I could. I was privileged to see incredibly beautiful and skilfully made textiles, such as those in a Vishwakarma exhibition in Delhi, or at the Calico Museum of Textiles in Ahmedabad. I visited craftsmen villages, in Kutch district, where many people weave, embroider and dye textiles with traditional techniques. Tapestries and quilts impressed me with their details, colours and figurative elements, telling stories of folklore and religion and holding the subtle marks of the makers’ hands. Similarly, I was struck by the painstaking detail of Indian miniature paintings which I saw at the Mehrangarh fort in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. And furthermore, the traditional clothes which people wore on the streets, turned crowds into loud riots of colour.

I saw the motif of the tree being represented repeatedly, whether it appeared as a majestic Tree of Life in large tapestries and block printed lengths, or as a delicate detail in depictions of gardens in miniature paintings of royal palaces.

I took reference from those trees, which are, in the traditional Indian manner, very carefully drawn, their leaves symmetrical and organized, like a representation of flawless, divine nature.

The trees began quietly talking in their own language. It was not the first time they discussed such serious matters. They took their time. Day and night, slowly, the conversation extended over land as far as the eye could see…

Hand-embroidery with cotton thread on silk
215 x 83 cm

All images & designs are copyright © Clara Leitão and may not be reproduced