KHETA: Showcasing Shershabadi Women’s Embroidery

New Delhi, Feb 27 (IANSlife) KHETA, an embroidery exhibition of lesser-known reversible quilts made by Shershabadi women from Bihar’s Kishanganj district, will be held at the National Crafts Museum & Hastkala Academy, Bhairon Marg, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, from March 4 to April 3, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Originally settled in the Malda district of Bangladesh on land given by Emperor Sher Shah Suri (who ruled from 1486 to 1545 A.D.), the Shershabadi community has migrated along the rivers and settled in Kishanganj and neighbouring districts of Bihar and Bengal in India.

Delicate yet densely patterned with vibrant colours, the Kheta embroidery is a kind of quilting (the art of stitching layers of fabrics) that has survived the onslaught of time and shares a similar origin with other recycled quilting techniques, “Kantha” of Bengal and “Sujni” of Bihar.

KHETA is the cultural identity and embroidered expression of the Shershabadi Muslim migrant community. The exhibition of embroidered (quilted) products in the Crafts Museum’s textile gallery will include a live demonstration of the craft by Shershabadi women, workshops for educational institutions to learn the craft, Expert Talk(s), Film screening/Audiovisual sessions providing insights into the Shershabadi community and culture, and the sale of Kheta products from the Museum Shop.

Even though a practising craft in the remote villages of Kishanganj, Kheta has largely remained undocumented in the family of recycled quilts from the Eastern part of India like Sujanis and Kanthas. In its intricate geometric patterning, Kheta stands out as a contemporary expression of the modern world. Zameen Astar Foundation (ZAF) and Azad India Foundation (AIF) have been instrumental in getting government, national and international attention to these most exquisite embroideries.

Over the years, however, the Shershabadi community has developed their unique quilting technique of pure geometrical motifs, avoiding figurative depictions of Sujni and circular patterns of Kantha. Generally used as a blanket for newborn children or a mattress for the newlywed couple, Kheta is every bit a work of priceless art as it is a designed finished product for daily use.

(N.Lothungbeni Humtsoe can be contacted at lothungbeni.h@ians.in)

20220227-114603

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