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Sun 29 Aug 2021

6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Crafted in India: Indian motifs

Namaste 2021: Global Utsava of Indian Soft Power

Crafted in India: Indian motifs

August 29, 2021, Sunday | 06:30 – 08:00 AM IST

Special Guest: Amb. Shri Sanjay Kumar Verma, Indian Ambassador to Japan


  • Ms Judy Frater, Founder-Director of Somaiya Kala Vidya
  • Dr Kevin Murray, Senior Vice-President, World Crafts Council, Asia
  • Dr Toolika Gupta, Director, Indian Institute of Crafts and Design
  • Mrs Shanthi Chandrashekar, Artist- Kolam and Thanjavur paintings
  • Smt. Malavika Shivakumar, Co-founder, Vastrakala



Amb. Shri. Sanjay Kumar Verma

Indian Ambassador to Japan

Amb. Sanjay Kumar Verma is an officer of the 1988 batch of Indian Foreign Service (IFS). He was stationed at the Consulate General of India, Hong Kong and at the Embassy of India in China, Vietnam and Turkey, before serving as the Consul General of India in Milan, Italy. Amb. Verma was also the Indian Ambassador to the Republic of Sudan. Following his tenure in Sudan, Amb. Verma served as Joint Secretary (Global Estate Management) in MEA, New Delhi. Prior to his arrival in Japan as the Ambassador of India, Amb. Verma was posted in MEA, New Delhi as Additional Secretary (Administration) and was also in charge of the Cyber Diplomacy Division.


Ms Judy Frater

Founder-Director of Somaiya Kala Vidya

Judy Frater is a social entrepreneur steeped in the world of contemporary textile artisans of Kutch, India. She lived in Kutch for 30 years, during which she co-founded and operated Kala Raksha Trust, a cooperative for women embroiderers, established the Kala Raksha Textile Museum, and founded Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya, the first design school for traditional artisans. For this concept, Ms. Frater was awarded an Ashoka Fellowship for social entrepreneurship in 2003. Under her eight- year tenure as Director of the school, Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya received international recognition for its unique approach to education of artisans. Frater received the Sir Misha Black Medal for Distinguished Services to Design Education in 2009, the Crafts Council of India Kamla award in 2010, the George B. Walter’36 Service to Society Award from Lawrence University in 2014 and the New Delhi Rotary Distinguished Service Award in 2020. In 2014, to expand the design education program to an institute, Frater joined the K.J. Somaiya Gujarat Trust to begin Somaiya Kala Vidya. From 2014-2020, as Founder Director she initiated a graduate business and management course, Outreach to other regions, co-design programs, and a course in craft traditions for non-artisans. Ms. Frater’s Threads of Identity: Embroidery and Adornment of the Nomadic Rabaris received the Costume Society of America’s Milla Davenport award. Prior to her residence in India, she was Associate Curator of the Eastern Hemisphere Collections at the Textile Museum, in Washington, DC.


Dr Kevin Murray

Senior Vice-President, World Crafts Council, Asia

Dr Kevin Murray is an independent writer and curator. For the past eight years, he has been Director of Craft Victoria, where he initiated a number of programs, including the Melbourne Scarf Festival and the South Project, a four year program of cultural exchange across the south that involved international gatherings in Melbourne, Wellington, Santiago and Johannesburg. With a PhD in the field of narrative psychology, he has an ongoing interest in art as a way of telling stories.


Dr Toolika Gupta

Director, Indian Institute of Crafts and Design

Dr. Toolika Gupta, Director, Indian Institute of Crafts and Design, is a researcher and teacher in the field of crafts and design. With a Ph.D. in History of Arts (Dress and Textiles) from Glasgow University, UK; In Textiles and Clothing from MSc Lady Irwin College, New Delhi, India; Her collaboration as a PhD fellow with the Textile Research Center, Copenhagen, Denmark, and a short course in ‘Archaeological Textiles’ from the University of Oxford, UK, she has gained experience as a researcher in this field. She started her career as a designer in 1996, entering the field of education as a faculty member at NIFT, New Delhi. She spent her time at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi, who understood the need for design education and its future in India. She did NIFT in 2011, While visiting faculty at NID and Pearl Academy, she resigned from NIFT for further research. Realizing the need to promote indigenous research and bring it closer to interested people, she founded TCRC, the Center for Textiles and Clothing Research, New Delhi, in 2016, along with many like-minded people. She is also currently the Secretary of TCRC.


Mrs Shanthi Chandrashekar

Artist- Kolam and Thanjavur paintings

Shanthi is a Maryland artist who has been drawing and painting since early childhood. Her interest in understanding different media has led her to experiment with sculpture, photography, printmaking and papermaking. She has also been trained in the traditional art forms of Kolam and Tanjore Style painting. While many of her works are influenced by her Indian heritage, her true inspiration comes from the mystery and majesty of the world around her; her muse lives where the scientific overlaps with the spiritual. Shanthi’s works have been displayed in a variety of locations in the US and India. She won the Maryland State Arts Council Independent Artist Award in 2021 and Individual Artist Awards in 2013 and 2016 for Works on Paper.


Mrs Malavika Shivakumar

Co-founder, Vastrakala

Malavika studied English and French literature and after a stint with an NGO, co-founded Vastrakala 25 years ago. Since then, the company has been involved in projects which maintain the highest standards of craftsmanship. Notably the work with museums and public institutions has provided opportunities to study historical embroidery and enabled their preservation and often their recreation. It is based on this heritage that today, Vastrakala’s collaborations with the world’s leading designers has produced outstanding works that contribute to the language of contemporary decorative arts.