A stitch in time saves nine. The oft-used adage is the mantra for those trying to revive hand-embroidery, Bengal’s rich but dying artform.
Come Saturday and The Bengal Fashion Heritage (TBFH), an initiative to preserve the intangible heritage that also promises to empower poor artisans of batik, kantha, zardozi, block-print and other thread embroideries, is all set to roll under the aegis of BCCI.
“We have coined the term ‘Bengal Fashion Heritage’ because these embellishments on the wearables have the same hertiage value like an Aban Thakur or a Nandalal Bose,” said Rupali Basu, founder-director, TBFH, and chairperson, women empowerment committee, BCCI.
Deputy directors, TBFH, Mallika Varma and Pinky Kenworthy said: “The movement will emerge as a successful social enterprise touching lives of hundreds of needy women in Bengal.” Themed “Walk the Winter in Silk”, the launch will showcase professional designers Abhishek Ray, Adarsh Makharia, Ayushman Mitra, Bappaditya Biswas, Chinmoy Basu, Meera Basu, Ekta and Ruchira, Kavita Banerjee, Malika Varma, Pranay Baidya, Paromita Banerjee, Sayantan Sarkar and Sharbari Datta. “These professional designers are injecting fresh ideas and reinterpreting the traditional motifs so the younger generation can easily relate to the vibrant hand-embroidered creations in kantha, zardozi, batik, blockprint and other threadwork and weaves,” explained Basu.
For a start, TBFH has funds from the Union ministry of culture. “We at the BCCI are handholding while the governments (both state and central) eventually take up the cause and form a dedicated council for embroidery,” Basu said.
The journey will gradually spread across the country and abroad, involving more and more fashion artists capable of creating exquisitely embroidered garments a girl might take pride in including in her trousseau. “TBFH is not only a platform for Bengal’s master weavers and artisans, but also an effort to pull national and international clientele to Bengal’s nearly-extinct craft,” said designer Adarsh Makharia.
The activities include creating an online store, conducting workshops to generate awareness.
Anima Sarkar (26), team leader of 200-odd girls, from her village Atabaga in South 24-Parganas, said that it’s clear the women are increasingly relinquishing their innate skill handed down to them by their grandmothers, for other occupations.
Source: Times of India