Ahmedabad Trunk is a textile gallery inside the premises of a boutique heritage hotel, The House of MG, located within the walled city of Ahmedabad. Back in 1924, this stately property was home to one of the wealthiest textile magnates of the time, Mangaldas Girdhardas and his brother Chamalal Girdhardas, the ancestors of gallery founder Abhay Mangaldas.
The gallery was founded much later in 2016 and like the rest of the building retains its old-world charm beautifully. It houses a rare treasure of Gujarati textile arts that spans multiple techniques, materials and practices from far reaching corners of Gujarat. Its collection began with the acquisitions by the founder’s mother Anjali Mangaldas, who continued her endeavour throughout her lifetime.
Located on the first floor, the access to the gallery is through ‘The Heirloom Shop’ which is also inter-connected to the Heritage Bookstore. The museum itself comprises of three inter-connected gallery spaces. The first two, which are to be viewed in sequence, are the permanent galleries displaying the textiles of Gujarat arranged under four categories curated by Meena Rajput and Oroon Das:
Since most of these textiles constituted a very important part of the bride’s dowry and were essentially for personal use, one can witness the love that has gone into making each of these. Thanks to the scale of this gallery, each textile garment selected for display is unique. The amazing artistry that goes into textiles like tappar, meant to cover domestic animals such as buffaloes and camels, is also overwhelming. The workmanship that goes into making of the kids’ wear must mean that they were passed from generation to generation. The Mutwa embroidery is most fascinating as besides using miniscule stitches, it uses mirrors as small as 2mm as embellishments!
Each piece is an indicator of the identity of the owner and her/his specific community. And the pictures accompanying the exhibits are a window of sorts into the many people and places that these textiles come from. These are bound to inspire innovation for contemporary design.
The third gallery space is meant for temporary exhibitions by designers and master craftsmen. Currently on display is ‘Painting With Threads’, the second part of a three-series display of saris and shawls that belonged to Anjali Hutheesing Mangaldas and Leena Sarabhai Mangaldas, and curated by Aditi Ranjan.
A recent addition is the exhibition ‘Glimpses of a Family Legacy’ which has jewellery, personal ornaments, silver, items of worship and tableware, curated by Puja Shah.
The gallery offers an audio tour, complete with headphones and disposable earplug covers, accessible through your own phones at no extra charge.