Capturing the Vibrancy & Diversity of India Through Lens & Fabrics!

Photos: Navin Mediwala

Photos: Navin Mediwala

By Vanshika Vipin Varma

SUGAR LAND: India is a mix of several vibrant cultures and colors. The varied flavors, festivals, religions and traditions make India exotic and incredible to the rest of the world! On Wednesday, March 7, FotoFest exhibited the multifaceted culture of India through the camera lens. The Indo American Forum of Fort Bend (IAF) collaborated with City of Sugar Land as a part of the FotoFest 2018 Biennial Participating Space to kick off this exciting 6-week-long FotoFest exhibits around Houston. This year’s theme is ‘India’, and there was so much to experience and appreciate.


IAF initiated this unique concept to serve on a platter an evening filled with the flares of the multifaceted culture of India, through camera lens and fabrics. They worked to make it a multidimensional project and showcase the fabrics of India together with a brief cultural presentation. This event marked the first-ever exhibit in Sugar Land of the enchanting fabrics of India entitled Fabrics of India. The stunning fabrics accompanied the ongoing exhibition of community photographs was aptly titled, ‘Faces, Places & Spaces of India’.


The opening reception featured photography, fabrics and performance and all this and more were on display at the new Sugar Land Heritage Museum & Visitor Center (198 Kemper Street, Building B, 2nd Floor, Sugar Land, Texas 77498). The mega-show that started at 6.30pm also featured instrumental Indian classical music, dance and food, and display of some outstanding photographs by local community members. Some of the marvelous photographs were of Hardeepak Singh Munday, Sanjana Jhaveri, Sandhya Ayyar, and the winning entry by Salil Bhandari.


The splendid and remarkable fabrics exhibited the diversification of India and the distinctiveness of each of its regions. The liveliness ranged from Paithani silks, Kanjeevaram silks, Handlooms from Kerala, to Chanderis, Tussar silks, Kantha work, Kalamkari painted fabrics, Bandhanis, Phulkaris from Punjab, Parsi Gara work, Zardosi work and Ajrakh prints. It was such a visual treat to be experiencing all this and more.


The Emcee for the evening was Sonal Bhuchar, the mastermind behind this event. One of the first performances was of the Instrumental Indian classical music that was conducted by the students of Pandit Shantilal Shah and the Indian Music Society. It was an inspiring performance to begin with and was soon followed by Dr. Rathna Kumar and the students of Anjali school of Performing Arts presenting an impressive Bharatnatyam dance Maha Ganapathim.


It was a mesmerizing twist from this performance to an energetic Raas as The Wrecking Raas group of Texas A & M students performed with vigor and enthusiasm. The phenomenal backdrop of a peacock was creatively designed and executed by Shefali Jhaveri, along with the support of the IAF ladies group, who helped putting this event together. Photography was handled by Mary Favre, Liz Furman and Navin Mediwala.

Some of the guests included Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman and City Council Members Mayor Pro Tem Steve Porter, Carol McCutcheon, Amy Mitchell, Mary Joyce, Bridget Yueng and former Council Member Harish Jajoo. Delicious appetizers for the evening were catered by Madras Pavilion. It was truly an evening that unveiled the vibrancy of the rich nation of India.