Past Exhibition

The Offbeat Sari

A major exhibition celebrating the contemporary sari. Curated by our Head of Curatorial, Priya Khanchandani, this exhibition unravels its numerous forms, demonstrating the sari to be a metaphor for the layered and complex definitions of India today. It brings together dozens of the finest saris of our time from designers, wearers and craftspeople in India.

★★★★ Evening Standard

'Summer's hottest exhibition'
The Sunday Times

What to expect

Worn as an everyday garment by some and considered by others to be formal or uncomfortable, the sari has multiple definitions. Conventionally an unstitched drape wrapped around the body, which can be draped in a variety of ways, its unfixed form has enabled it to morph and absorb changing cultural influences.

In recent years, the sari has been reinvented. Designers are experimenting with hybrid forms such as sari gowns and dresses, pre-draped saris and innovative materials such as steel. Young people in cities who used to associate the sari with dressing up can now be found wearing saris and sneakers on their commutes to work. Individuals are wearing the sari as an expression of resistance to social norms and activists are embodying it as an object of protest.

Today, the sari in urban India manifests as a site for design innovation, an expression of identity, and a crafted object carrying layers of cultural meanings. The exhibition unravels the sari as a metaphor for the complex definitions of India today.

Exhibition photography by Andy Stagg

Book online

Booking Information

Adult tickets from £12.60
Child tickets from £6.30
Student/Concession tickets from £9.50

Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. Visit our terms & conditions page for further information.


Unmissable highlights from #TheOffbeatSari

The Offbeat Sari exhibition brings together examples of trailblazing saris from designers, wearers and craftspeople in India. Explore the 9 unmissable saris presented among other very special designs you can't miss!

Shop the exhibition range

The accompanying range to our major exhibition celebrating the contemporary sari. The exhibition demonstrates the sari to be a metaphor for the layered and complex definitions of India today and this colourful collection celebrates many elements of Indian culture through cookbooks, clothing, jewellery, artworks and more.

Get closer with membership

Our members enjoy a whole year of discounts to our events, shops and café, access to private views, and free exhibition entry for an adult and a guest. With some excellent exhibitions coming up in 2023, including Ai Weiwei’s first foray into design and Skateboards, it’s an exciting time to join. Plus, every purchase supports the museum.

Ticket Mate Fund

Help everyone enjoy the exhibition via our Ticket Mate Fund – a pay-it-forward scheme in partnership with local charities that distributes free exhibition tickets to the local community.

Access Information

We want everyone's visit to be enjoyable and work continuously to make the museum more accessible and inclusive to the widest possible audience.

Future Exhibitions

2023 Programme

Discover what else is coming up this year.

Exhibition photography by Andy Stagg. Exhibition graphics by Hingston Studio.