Quilts portray gender identity stories

Cultural Correspondent | Published: 22:58, Mar 17,2020


A visitor looks at displayed quilts at Jatra Biroti in Dhaka. — Sourav Lasker

Artists Humayra Kabir and Maliha Mohsin have displayed quilts narrating stories of women working in diverse professions at an exhibition titled ‘Galpa Kantha’ under way at Jatra Biroti in the capital’s Banani.

The artists have narrated stories of women and transgender people from domains that are largely considered ‘domestic’, ‘communal’, and ‘rural’.

The works explore their strengths and struggles that are often sidestepped, if not silenced by the patriarchal society.

They worked with rural women from Chattogram, namely Akther Begum, Dilwara Begum Rekha, Naima Noor Taniya, Noor Begum and Sonia Akther, who make a living as quilt makers, to create images and texts representing their communities.

Supported by the British Council, the exhibition features a total of five quilts containing interviews, short-form narratives, illustrations and others.

The stories are based on the interviews of women, namely social worker Ananya Banik, veteran coach for female athletes Farida Begum, tea-workers and activists of Chanpore Tea Garden Kanak Rajbongshi, Khairun Akhter and Shondha Rani Bhoumik, animal welfare activist and vegan cook Rubaiya Ahmed and housewife and community elder Shabana Naved.

A work titled ‘Care is a Very Conscious Decision’ shows a woman donning a royal blue sari holding food in one hand and a signboard, urging the people to be kind to animals, in another.

The quilt narrates the story of Rubiya Ahmed. She founded Obhoyaronno-Bangladesh Animal Welfare Foundation in 2012 and successfully steered it to make it the country’s first programme to sterilise and vaccinate street dogs of Dhaka.

A quilt titled ‘Oi Shamaye Amar Bandhu Jadi Amar Shareeta Pin Kore Na Dito, Hoyto Ami Ajke Ekhane Daratey Partam Na’ shows a transgender woman dancing and a friend helping her to pin her sari.

It depicts the story of Ananya Banik. She belongs to the Hijra community, and all her works is centred on the needs of her community.

The exhibition, which commenced on March 13, is scheduled to end on March 21.

More about:

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email