About Karun

“Karun’s is a collection not hemmed in by popular taste, the collection of a man with the most remarkable eye for quality who went his own way, and believes there is still so much more to discover” – Lord Alistair McAlpine

An avid collector since childhood, Karun Thakar is guided by his own curiosity. As a result, his collections are remarkably diverse. Karun believes that every object in his collection has a story to tell about the people who made it and the way that they lived. He lends and donates pieces to international museums to deepen the understanding of what they mean and the cultures they belong to. Through exhibitions, publications and now the V&A Karun Thakar Fund, he hopes to contribute to a wider understanding of postcolonial narratives.

Areas of collecting

The Karun Collection is internationally recognised for its focus on antique textiles and dress, with several thousand Indian examples, Japanese folk textiles, Afghanistan costume, West and North African textiles and weavings.  The collection also contains African and Indian bronzes and jewellery, studio ceramics, Islamic and Venetian glass trade beads, early Indian terracottas and even hand painted African movie posters.

Exhibitions and donations

Karun Thakar has donated and loaned textiles and objects to various international institutions and exhibitions over the last 15 years. 100 examples of key textiles have been donated to the V&A Museum and now the Textile Museum at George Washington University. He has put on free public exhibitions of his collections at the Brunei Gallery SOAS, and next will be working with the Textile Museum on ‘Indian Textiles: 1,000 years of Art and Design’, opening January 2022. An accompanying catalogue is now available. 

The V&A Karun Thakar Fund

Together with the V&A, Karun has set up the ‘Karun Thakar Fund’, which aims to enrich the fields of Asian and African textiles and dress by supporting new and original approaches to study and practice, foregrounding fresh perspectives and ground-breaking research. For more information and to apply, visit the V&A website

All images copyright: Karun Thakar