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"Her Words: Storytelling with Saris"

Monica Jahan Bose and the women of Katakhali 
Photo ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World
Photo Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

“Her Words: Storytelling with Saris” is a collaborative printmaking and story project celebrating the achievement of literacy by women in the remote island community of Katakhali, Bangladesh, which is my ancestral village and part of an eco-project coordinated by Samhati, an organization of Bangladeshi women. These women all lost their homes in recent cyclones and have been working with Samhati to rebuild their lives. I will collaborate with 12 women to: create 24 woodblock prints on sari fabric using words the women have learned along with designs and images; have them write their own stories; record their oral histories and take portrait photos of them wearing the saris; and document the project through photo and video. Each woman will keep one sari to wear as a statement of her achievement, and the remaining folio of 12 sari prints will be brought back to the US to be exhibited.
Photo ? Shahidul Alam
Photo Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

The project will be showcased in an exhibition at the Gateway Art Center, Brentwood Arts Exchange in the Washington DC area from September 9-October 19, 2013. There will also be a panel discussion and workshops. ?Her Words? will bring to the US the submerged stories of a community that has been adversely affected by climate change and may well disappear by mid-century. A book/catalogue will be published of the women?s writings, photographs, and saris. I also plan to do a performance art piece using these saris during Art Basel Week in Miami in December 2013 and to take the exhibition to Bangladesh in 2014.
In my work, I use the sari and other garments as metaphors for the human body and spirit, investigating gender, identity, desire, and women?s role as carriers of tradition. My work also uses Bengali script as a political act affirming multilingualism and universal literacy. I have been working on literacy and health projects with the women of Katakhali for many years and wanted to collaborate with them on a special project to mark their victory in learning to read and write. This project uses the sari as an art material, a story board, and a garment, merging art and advocacy to celebrate the empowerment of women.
I am looking for someone to help me document this project with photo and film.   I am leaving for Katakhali (Patuakhali district) on January 17 and need an energetic, creative person to come with me for 5-7 days and be part of this project.   This is a great opportunity for collaboration and international exposure.  Please contact Monica at
My website:
Facebook: Monica Jahan Bose
Monica Jahan Bose
2017 Belmont Rd, NW
Washington, DC 20009, USA
Please Retweet #sari #Bangladesh #women #katakhali
Published inArtsBangladeshcultureGarmentsPhotographyPhotojournalismSouth Asia

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