Thanks to the Textile Research Centre Leiden for this article about Surayia Rahman and her role in the revival of kantha in Bangladesh. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood and Willem Vogelsang are experts and proponents of textiles from around the world and the knowledge that they assemble at #TRC-Leiden is impressive.
The iconic photo in the TRC article is by @Anil444Advani, a friend of Surayia and one of the earliest supporters of THREADS.
#Bangladesh #Nakshikantha #SurayiaRahman
We’re happy to announce that THREADS will screen at the Gendered Threads of Globalization conference at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia. The conference is March 10 – 12. THREADS will screen at 3:35PM March 11 in Room 103, Fine Arts Building as part of a session on Bengal. Director Cathy Stevulak will make a presentation and answer questions about the film. She will join experts Sanchita Saxena, Naza Mahjabeen Sabet and Farah Khan in discussing “intersections of gendered labor and its exploitation in the region; the revitalization and reinterpretation of heritage Bengali textiles as art and luxury items; and the rise of “slow fashion” and women’s empowerment in the two Bengals.”
The poster for the conference features artwork from Surayia Rahman and the women of Arshi, the embroidered tapestry “Gypsy Wharf.”
#Bengal #Bangladesh #Artisan #nakshikantha
Posted by: Cathy and Len
Cathy presented on the topic of “Kantha Reimagined” on October 9, 2020, at the virtual conference “Textiles on the Move” based in Leiden, The Netherlands. Jointly organized by the International Institute for Asian Studies, the Textile Research Center and the Tracing Patterns Foundation, the conference brought together scholars and curators from around the world to explore the theme of textiles transcending place and sharing inspirations across cultures.
Sandra Sardjono of Tracing Patterns first suggested doing a short video presentation on kantha, which encouraged us to review literature as well as our own notes and memories of discussions with artisans, scholars, curators and collectors about this art form native to Bengal. Condensing years of scholarship into a short presentation was a challenge, but you can watch the result here (and on the IIAS website after October 15). Tell us what you think.
It is hard to imagine, but kantha, with its centuries of tradition, was in danger of becoming a lost art by the mid-20th century. The revival and reimagination of kantha was the result of inspiration and dedication of hundreds of people. Artist Surayia Rahman and the embroiderers with whom she worked in the Skill Development Project for Underprivileged Women played a key role. They tell their inspirational story in the documentary THREADS.
Of great importance to the revival of kantha was the effort of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to preserve the kantha collection of Stella Kramrisch, the groundbreaking art historian and curator, acquired during her years in India starting in the 1920s. Photographs of kantha from the PMA inspired a new generation of Bangladeshi kantha-makers, who saw art to hang on a wall growing from what had once been considered a domestic craft. The preservation of Bengali culture in an American museum, and its return to its homeland as inspiration for a new art form, is a great example of “textiles on the move.”
#WomenLead #Innovation #Artisan #Bangladesh #India #Textiles #Kantha
Posted by Cathy and Len
In this time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, watch an inspiring film. The Bangla-dubbed version of THREADS is now available online for free for two weeks, until April 20.
You can see THREADS on Vimeo.com at this link.
সুরাইয়া রহমান ভারত বিভাগের পর তার পরিবার, শিল্পকর্ম, এবং প্রিয় কলকাতা থেকে বিচ্ছিন্ন হয়ে বাংলাদেশে গরিব মায়েদের গল্প বলার নকশা সেলাই শেখানোর মাঝে নতুন জীবন খুঁজে পান.
শিল্পের শক্তি আর সারা বিশ্বের নারী ও মেয়েদের ক্ষমতায়নের অনুপ্রেরণাদায়ক উদাহরণ, থ্রেডস আমাদেরকে একজন শিল্পী রিদয়ে ঘনিষ্ট এক যাত্রায় নিয়ে যায়, আর মর্যাদা ও স্বাধীনতার এক অগতানুগতিক পন্থার জয়গান করে.
Torn from her family, her paintings, and her beloved Calcutta after the partition of India, artist Surayia Rahman finds a new life in Bangladesh teaching impoverished mothers to embroider her story-telling designs.
An inspirational example of the power of art and the impact of empowering women and girls around the world, THREADS takes us on an intimate journey into the heart of an artist and celebrates an unconventional path to dignity and independence.
The original version of THREADS, in English and Bangla with English subtitles, is available for rent on Vimeo On Demand at this link.
Many thanks to Tanveer Alam Shawjeeb and Dina Hossain for their work on the dubbed version, and to the Cosmos Foundation, the Mary Redman Foundation and many others for their support of this part of the THREADS project.
Posted by: Cathy and Len
Today is International Women’s Day.
Here’s our pick for a film to watch celebrating women’s achievement…
THREADS is an inspiring short documentary about women in Bangladesh overcoming adversity through their commitment to creating timeless, hand-stitched art. Their work is in museums and private collections around the world, including the Royal Collection in the UK.
Stream THREADS on VIMEO, or get a DVD from Amazon.com
THREADS is available for schools and libraries through Collective Eye Films.
Posted by: Cathy and Len
The latest issue of the THREADS newsletter is now live. You can read it here.