Kantha: Stitch art of rural Bengal

Malika's Kantha Collection endeavors have been successfully been able to unshackle Kantha from the traditional confines of a humble quilting stitch, therefore letting it soar to the top range of haute couture at the ongoing exhibition, 'Agomoni' by Shamlu Dudheja, and her daughter Malika, which is being held at ITC Royal Bengal. This exhibition is a tribute to Ma Durga where each panel tells its own divine story. Shamlu's most significant contributions to society have been, the revival of Kantha, with the support of her daughter, Malika also publication of several series of Maths text books for India and Pakistan, welfare work, in many fields, as Chairperson of Calcutta Foundation.

Through Shamlu Dudheja's intensive marketing efforts, from a humble quilting stitch, Kantha has become one of the most revered styles of embroideries, both in India and abroad. Through her guidance Kantha has travelled right across the socio-economic spectrum from idyllic rural settings to the ramps of glamorous fashion shows and finds its way into various drawing rooms or work spaces. 'Kantha as Stitch art' goes even beyond and adorns the walls of famous museums and prestigious art galleries of the world.

This has helped thousands of Kantha artists realize their potential and live with a sense of dignity. Kantha is about holding together layers of fine muslin cottons, and sewing them meticulously, with fine running stitches, to make quilts for loved ones. If a woman is empowered, the home is empowered, if rural homes get empowered, the villages get empowered their lives are heading towards a more productive, positive life styles.

"Tremendous promotional efforts to the simple running stitch have impacted the lives of the rural women beyond all expectations. We began with 3-4 workers, now we are almost touching 1000 women. Kantha revival has been the harbinger of the resurgence of power, the empowerment of women. The enhancement of the status in their family and within their community has reawakened their inner sense of self worth," said Shamlu Dudheja.

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