One of India's most enduring artistic traditions is its myriad forms of embroidery.
There cannot be a single defined way to empower women. Some believe in educating women in order to make them independent financially and psychologically, whereas others believe in bringing out their talent and giving them work opportunities based on the same. Shrujan comes under the second one. Being a non-profit organisation based out of Kutch, it is trying to preserve the traditional embroidery works for the past 49 years.
Shrujan has recently held an exhibition in Delhi’s Aga Khan Hall where there were three distinctive artisan’s from the Kutch region itself showcasing the traditional needle work of different types. One of India's most enduring artistic traditions is its myriad forms of embroidery. Needle work is not merely a means of ornamentation; the fabrics are threaded with stories of the community and elements emerging from its natural surroundings. Talking about the inspiration for being involved with such a project, Swati Dalal, an artist who contributed to the exhibition says, “The inspiration is and always was Chandaben. I admired her ability to recognise the women karigar's talent for embroidery and giving them the ability to earn their livelihood by using this talent. Instead of providing sporadic help to them she wanted to empower them so as to live with dignity and respect in their local communities.”
The collection includes silk sarees, stoles and West Bengal Cotton silhouettes with fine embroidery work that can leave anyone mesmerized. Every garment will have a story of its own as these threaded magic is created over a week, months and sometimes even a year. The exhibition for the first time will be graced by experienced artisans who have hand crafted these designs and embroideries. Reviving this culture of embroidery, the exhibition will have the essence of 50 intricate and rare embroideries from the different communities of Kutch.
Also it should be mentioned here that the organisation believes in bringing the women karigar's talents to artists all over the world so that artists could derive inspirations from their talents as also giving the women karigars access to artists and craftsmen with a view to learning something new which could be a help to them.
Amidst daily routine, people who understand or have a zeal for traditional embroidery work have come to visit the exhibition. There was indeed a lady who mentioned that she has a collection of sarees. Sharing her enthusiasm about Delhi’s spectators, Swati shares, “The expectation from Delhites is that just like they have been supportive of Shrujan, they also start supporting the other artists in their endeavour.”