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Exhibition at Norwich's Country and Eastern shows South Asian textiles

PUBLISHED: 09:02 16 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:10 16 September 2015

Sadacc Trust collections curator Amy Chang with a huge early-mid 20 century wall hanging from Gujarat at Country and Eastern.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Sadacc Trust collections curator Amy Chang with a huge early-mid 20 century wall hanging from Gujarat at Country and Eastern. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Archant Norfolk.

From Pakistan to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Bangladesh, visitors to a new exhibition can take a journey through South Asia's rich history of textiles.

Philip Millwood at Country and Eastern with the revamped entrance.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.Philip Millwood at Country and Eastern with the revamped entrance. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Gathered from across the world throughout the 20th century, the eclectic collection is on show at Country and Eastern in Norwich, which is owned by husband-and-wife team Philip and Jeannie Millward.

And from wedding shawls to authentic children’s clothes, quilts and dresses, the display has been selected under the watchful eye of curator Amy Chang.

Mr Millward, who founded the South Asian Decorative Arts and Crafts Collection Trust with his wife, began the collection in Karachi, Pakistan, where he was working in the 1970s.

“Some of these pieces came back in my suitcase,” he said. “We made a point of keeping these good examples.

New entrance

A striking new entrance at Country and Eastern is aimed to entice passers by to take a look inside.

It took nine months to complete, but now the new glass structure is finished, and includes architecture imported from south Asia.

Shop owners Philip and Jeannie Millward, who established the shop 35 years ago, wanted the new atrium-like entrance to have a dramatic impact.

“We wanted to have a more interesting entrance that was impressive for visitors,” said Mrs Millward. “I want more people to come in to share what we have in here.”

“We would never sell any of them unless we get something better.”

Now the textiles belong to the trust, a registered charity, and form just 10 to 15pc of its vast collection.

“It was a hobby that has got totally out of control,” said Mrs Millward.

The trust is also funding a PhD student, and plans to sponsor a programme of research in India.

Alongside the main attraction, displayed in glass cabinets in the centre of the Bethel Street building, is a solo exhibition from artist Hormazd Narielwalla.

His work is aimed to recreate the experience of a Parisian traveller to India in the 1950s and 60s.

Cloth: A Journey through South Asian Textiles is on display until December.

Mr Narielwalla’s Haute Collage will run until November 15.

Are you launching a new exhibition? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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