Opening the treasure of small things

‘Humans are animals for whom only the superfluous is necessary.’ Ortega y Gasset

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The World of Small Things was finally installed at Craft Victoria in time for the opening last night. It was a great crowd that seemed absorbed by the stories of craft and design at the frontier. Professor Soumitri Varadarajan gave a wonderful opening speech. He talked from an India perspective about the way the term ‘developing’ seems now an inappropriate term for what’s happening in his country today. This is particularly the case where India itself has a craft infrastructure and market that is offering so many opportunities for those seeking to develop fine product.

What moved the crowd in particular was the way Soumitri drew on the show’s parallel with the Arundhati Roy novel, The God of Small Things. Soumitri spoke about the resilience of craft in extreme conditions, such as poverty and displacement. He considered that this was inevitably part of the human condition.

Once all the works had been gathered together in one space, it is quite striking how much these projects reflect the deep changes in our world, particularly urbanisation and the new ethical sensibility. It’s a sign that craft is actively responding to this world, thanks particularly to those who venture forth into its margins. These craft projects entail great risk and personal commitment. Thankfully, they have ‘come up with the goods’.

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