Touring Exhibition Available from Autumn 2023

The Offbeat Sari touring exhibition

A major exhibition celebrating the contemporary sari. Curated by our Head of Curatorial, Priya Khanchandani, this exhibition will unravel its numerous forms, demonstrating the sari to be a metaphor for the layered and complex definitions of India today. It will bring 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’s in the Exhibition?

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.

Tour availability is from Autumn 2023.

Exhibition photography by Andy Stagg.