International Womens Day Celebration

Embroidered Textile Pieces from Chitral on display in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: A unique exhibition of 23 embroidered textile pieces depicting universality of women’s lives across the globe at the National Art Gallery here on Sunday evening.

The exhibition, “Gup Shup, the domestic, the narrative and cups of Chai”, illustrating the ebb and flow in everyday life of women in Chitral was part of the International Women’s Day celebrations. The objective of the exhibition is to provide space to female artisans of Chitral.

The minister of information , inaugurating the exhibition praised the compositions stitched on the textile specimens, describing each piece as ‘electic, aesthetic frame’ done by common Chitrali women artists that gave the impression as if they had received influences of post-modern art.

She passed an order that the women artists should be taken on a tour of art galleries for improving their art and also to get berth in commercial centres of Karachi and Lahore so as to bring them a ‘monetary reward’.

Exhibition organiser Rolla Khadduri said on the occasion that the aim was to provide sharp contrast to the way Pakistan, especially Pakistani women, had been represented abroad recently, denying the common fact of universality of women lives across the world.

These textile pieces also seem to make a statement to the effect that although there were variations within cultures, women concerns and emotions remained the same across the world.

Each textile piece has a story centring round folksy home wisdom and everyday experience in women’s lives; as for example the textile piece Pot Swap done by Zaibun and family focuses on exchange of dishes between neighbours during Ramazan.

A wall hanging called I want to be pilot woven by three women artisans – Nasreen, Musarrat and Faham – depicts a women’s urge to be an aviator.

Textile pieces such as Mehndi and Harvest on display speak of the worries and happiness of life and dreams of marriages. A post-script says that the mother of the bride never applied Mehndi on her daughter’s palm because she is busy crying for her daughter who would be leaving her. The harhshness of Chitaki weather is shown on two art work Mantlepiece and Calendar which relate important happening in Chitrali weather according to months.

An overseas NGO, ‘Polly and Me, collaborated in mounting the exhibition, joint work of “Cath Braid, an Australian fashion designer” as well as “Rolla Khaduri, a Lebanese lady“. Braid has been here for over six years and Khadduri for more than four years in Pakistan.

Cath and Rolla designed a series of self-financed workshop between March and November last year training about 400 women workers in two embroidery centres in the isolated mountain area of Chitral, which remains cut-off for at least a quarter of the year from the rest of the country.

The two ladies wish to take this travelling exhibition to Australia, the United Emirates as well as the United Kingdom.-Curtesy Jonaid Iqbal Dawn

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