Today I received a note from Alla in Armenia. I had met her several years ago on my travels there, and her note reminded me that I took with me a small piece of Surayia’s nakshi kantha tapestry during that visit. I recalled going to one of the fascinating street art markets in Yerevan and coming upon a man making picture frames. Could he please make me a small frame for this embroidery that I had brought such a distance in my suitcase? He kindly picked up the piece and delivered it framed to my hotel. Here it is – the heroine Dulali of Gypsy Wharf, the tragic love story by Jasimuddin – framed in Armenia.
When I look at this small, complex piece of hand embroidery, framed by a simple piece of wood, and now located far from where it was embroidered and framed, my thoughts travel to the universality of art, and art as a means of livelihood around the world, as well as to the powerful Gypsy Wharf story of love despite ethnic frictions.