Lancashire Makers and memories wanted for the making of a South Asian wedding

18th April 2018

Artist Dawinder Bansal calls out to communities to contribute to ‘The Making of a South Asian Wedding’, gathering the traditional, family and community making skills that made food, clothing, decoration and more for a typical 80s celebration

Just a week before the nation gathers for the Royal Wedding, a vibrant celebration of South Asian marriage culture is planned as part of The National Festival of Making, returning to Lancashire from Sat 12 – Sun 13 May 2018. The sights, sounds, tastes and colourful making traditions of a South Asian wedding are to be recreated for all to enjoy, by acclaimed theatre producer and artist Dawinder Bansal. To make it happen, Bansal is searching for home makers who can bring their traditional skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to ‘The Making of a South Asian Wedding,’ along with wedding photos, keepsakes. She’s also calling on women to turn up over the weekend in their wedding dresses!

Planned as part of the innovative arts project Art In Manufacturing, and continuing themes developed in ‘Front Room Factories’, two hugely successful elements of the festival in 2017, Bansal aims to cross cultural traditions, time and family generations to recreate the making of a 1980s South Asian wedding in Blackburn town centre.

In search of authenticity and the participation of the Lancashire community, she is inviting the home-based artisans and the small businesses that can provide the unforgettable sensations that Bansal remembers from the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi weddings she witnessed during her youth.

In addition to making skills, Bansal invites women to delve into their past, their wardrobes and attics to find their wedding dresses, asking them to come along to the festival dressed as they did on their big day. Members of the community are also encouraged send in any photos of their own 1980s wedding, or that of a friend or relative, as well as sharing artefacts and keepsakes to add to the range of visuals bringing the colour and joy of a traditional South Asian wedding to life.

To get involved in ‘The Making of a South Asian Wedding’ home makers, small business owners and friends and family members of people with traditional making skills are invited to get in touch with 

“As a young girl growing up in the 1980s, I remember watching Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding on TV. In just a few weeks, the country will be getting excited about the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, so I’m absolutely thrilled to be creating ‘Making of a South Asian Wedding’ for The National Festival of Making leading up to a historic, national event.

Traditional South Asian weddings are a big deal and an important family occasion. Thirty years ago, heads of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi families practiced and passed down distinct making skills during the build-up to the wedding, bringing family, friends and the local community together to plan and prepare everything for the ceremony. The homes of the bride and groom would be full of aunties, uncles, children and extended family – everyone played a role in the celebrations.

Such important crafts and skills live on in many families in spite of wedding services offering convenient and ‘ready-made’ alternatives, which is why I am setting this project in the 1980s, a time when people had more time for making and for each other. I want everyone who can still craft ceremonial wedding items and clothing by hand or make special curries and snacks, usually on an industrial scale for hundreds of wedding guests, to get in touch and join me in rediscovering such warm, family-focused and highly-skilled traditions.” DARWINDER BANSAL.