RAAGA: A Sensory Experience In Bangalore Takes You Through The Journey Of Cotton And Coffee

  • 10 Dec '21
  • 12:47 pm by Nitika Choraria

Being a prominent part of our everyday lives, there are an endless number of lenses through which we can look at cotton and coffee. Aren’t there? However, seamlessly blending the two together – RAAGA: The Harmony Of Cotton & Coffee, is a visually arresting show of installations that makes them beautifully come alive in ways we couldn’t think of.

Put together by two homegrown Indian brands – Yali, the commercial enterprise of The Registry of Sarees, and Araku Coffee of the Naandi Foundation, RAAGA is an exhibition that invites one to experience the evolving journey of cotton and coffee from seed to loom to cup. Spread across two floors of the brilliantly designed and spacious Araku café in Bangalore from the 27th of November 2021 until the 18th of December 2021, this three-week collaboration traces and highlights the shared connections between cotton and coffee, as they emerge from the soil, grow, are skillfully processed and finally become a part of our lives.

Tying the five senses of sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste together with the ephemeral Raaga, this enduring melody of cotton and coffee is exhibited through the medium of the sensorium.

This first of its kind, sensory-based exhibition includes several interactive exhibits that explore the stories of cotton and coffee. Parallel to the display on production, a set of workshops is conducted to connect the two in a more literal manner. These workshops include – dyeing, embroidery, botanical drawing, typography, food and fragrance pairings, and creative dinners to celebrate the coming together of people and the interconnectedness between materials and practices.

At Yali, collaborations form a key part of our growth. RAAGA started with teams from both brands coming together for a series of collaborative workshops where we developed keywords common to both brands. With identity, regeneration and sensory as a common starting point, the design of the installations and the dinner menu were developed to communicate the synergies of cotton and coffee. Tracing these shared connections between cotton and coffee showed us how firmly the two are rooted in our thoughts and environment” says Kshitija Mruthyunjaya (Creative Director, Yali).

1. Sight Panel:

Yali and Araku Coffee follow a soil-cloth-soil and soil-cup-soil concept where every piece of cloth and cup of coffee chronicles a circular journey. Using food as the medium to connect cotton and coffee this installation takes one through the shared stages of production and returning it back to the earth. One can witness the process by interacting with the display that responds to the rhythmic movements that are involved in the process.

Raaga – Sight Panel. Image Credits – Yali and Araku Coffee

2. Smell Panel:

Yali and Araku Coffee take pride in the quality of their produce. Their product offering, in essence, captures the best qualities from the Indian subcontinent. Cotton from the Dharwad Plateau and coffee, grown in the Araku Valley form the foundation through which one can understand the subtleties of cotton and coffee with regard to aroma, texture, and fragrance.

Raaga – Smell Panel. Image Credits – Yali and Araku Coffee
Raaga – Smell Panel. Image Credits – Yali and Araku Coffee

3. Sound Panel:

Cotton and coffee grow with the cadence and the nurturing gaze of the lunar and solar cycles. The natural rhythms of the moon guide the rhythms of our land – the way we cultivate, harvest, eat and celebrate the earth’s bounties. The sound of the cosmos is captured within the roots of the plants and the movement of the earth. Work at Yali and Araku Coffee is driven by rhythm – from processes responding to nature and understanding plants and the soil, to appreciating the softness of cotton or intensity of coffee. Their philosophies are borrowed from these natural responses to make cotton and coffee that is well-nourished by the earth.

Raaga – Sound Panel. Image Credits – Yali and Araku Coffee

4. Touch Panel:

To appreciate the soft to and fro nature of the regenerative cycle, an undulating installation portrays the finest nuances of cotton and coffee. The colors signify the cyclical representations of the different collections and are imprinted within the brand’s shared values.

Raaga – Touch Panel. Image Credits – Yali and Araku Coffee
Raaga – Touch Panel. Image Credits – Yali and Araku Coffee

5. Taste Panel:

This experience culminates with a seven-course sit-down dinner. Rahul Sharma, Head Chef at Araku Coffee, along with Kshitija Mruthyunjaya, Creative Director at Yali have created a palatable journey by translating the installations onto a plate, immersing the audience in the various nuances of the collective experience.

Raaga – Taste Panel. Image Credits – Yali and Araku Coffee
Raaga – Curated Menu. Image Credits – Yali and Araku Coffee
Raaga – Curated Menu. Image Credits – Yali and Araku Coffee

This exhibition further helps one understand the brands work with local communities in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh while pursuing new strides towards living consciously and mindfully in their offerings. “Raaga finds harmony between cotton and coffee – especially when the two are grown ethically. We’ve been able to develop and scale Arakunomics, a food system for an equitable future, in order to produce coffee, pepper, millets…all while ensuring profits for farmers, ensuring global fair trade standards are met, and carbon is restored in the soil” says Aditi Dugar (CEO – Retail & Lifestyle, Araku Coffee).

The installation is an anthem of a common belief system that manifests the work at Yali and Araku Coffee and it celebrates their shared values which embrace nature and the communities that are in harmony with it. The entire experience is meant to be felt and involve one in the present. It leaves viewers with the opportunity to interact and incorporate some of the products from Yali and Araku Coffee into their own lives.