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Mayank Mansingh Kaul

First at Khoj
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A textile designer, writer and curator, Mayank Mansingh Kaul is best known for his work documenting the design, fashion and textile trends in post-Independence India. He is also the founder of The Design Project India — a non-profit organisation that works on curatorial and archival projects related to Indian design.

Kaul grew up in Ahmedabad and studied textile design at the National Institute of Design (NID) in the city, where he became interested in the histories and narratives of design in India. His interest in textiles was also reinforced by the Calico Museum of Textiles. In 2005, while still a student at NID, he worked as a consultant with the Planning Commission of India’s taskforce on cultural and creative policy.

After graduating, Kaul worked as a textile designer before curating exhibitions as well as researching and writing on Indian textiles. Notable exhibitions he has curated include The Idea of Fashion (2011) at Khoj International Artists’ Residency, New Delhi; Fracture: Indian Textiles, New Conversations (2015) at the Devi Art Foundation, Gurugram; and Gold: The Art of Zari (2017) at Bikaner House, New Delhi. He has also curated exhibitions for designers and labels such as Ritu Kumar, Swati and Sunaina, and Abraham & Thakore.

In 2018, Kaul curated New Traditions: The Influences and Inspirations in Indian Textile, 1947–2017 at the Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur. Focused on the stylistic and cultural evolution of handmade textiles in the post-Independence era, the exhibition focused on Indian textiles in the context of international style movements, revivalist projects as well as experimental works such as handwoven sarees made of silicon yarn. In 2019, he curated the travelling exhibition Meanings, Metaphor: Handspun and Handwoven in the 21st century for the Registry of Sarees, Bengaluru, which featured khadi textiles and sarees that had been part of Martand Singh’s exhibition Khadi: A Fabric of Freedom (2002).

Kaul’s writings have been published in several print and digital publications. He also edited Marg’s textiles-focused issue, Cloth and India 1945–2015 (2016), and Baluchari: Bengal and Beyond (2016), a book by Darshan Shah.

At the time of writing, Kaul lives in New Delhi.