"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  monicajahanbose@gmail.com
My website: monicajahanbose.com
Facebook: Monica Jahan Bose
Monica Jahan Bose
2017 Belmont Rd, NW
Washington, DC 20009, USA
Please Retweet #sari #Bangladesh #women #katakhali

Author: Shahidul Alam

Time Magazine Person of the Year 2018. A photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. His seminal work “The Struggle for Democracy” contributed to the removal of General Ershad. Former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the Drik agency, Chobi Mela festival and Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world. Shown in MOMA New York, Centre Georges Pompidou, Royal Albert Hall and Tate Modern, Alam has been guest curator of Whitechapel Gallery, Winterthur Gallery and Musee de Quai Branly. His awards include Mother Jones, Shilpakala Award and Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dali International Festival of Photography. Speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities, TEDx, POPTech and National Geographic, Alam chaired the international jury of the prestigious World Press Photo contest. Honorary Fellow of Royal Photographic Society, Alam is visiting professor of Sunderland University in UK and advisory board member of National Geographic Society. John Morris, the former picture editor of Life Magazine describes his book “My journey as a witness”, (listed in “Best Photo Books of 2011” by American Photo), as “The most important book ever written by a photographer.”

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