Stories that inspired Virsā Artworks

“I embroider my prayers” (Virsā Artwork inspired by this story: Darshan Dwār - Door to the Divine)

Cotton Devotional Phulkari Heirloom Phulkari Patterns Phulkari Phulkari Self Help Groups Punjab Punjab Handicrafts Rural Artisans Stories that inspired these Artworks Textiles Women's Empowerment

“I embroider my prayers” (Virsā Artwork inspired by this story: Darshan Dwār - Door to the Divine)

"I embroider my prayers" Village near Ludhiana (Punjab, India) – 2014 She had joined this Phulkari group right after her wedding. Her mother-in-law encouraged her to socialize with the women there and also help bring some income to the family. She was delighted and had just sent a post-card to her mother in a township 200 miles away saying, “Ma, I’m very happy in my new family. His mother even let me step outside and join this embroidery group”. Her green eyes shone in the setting Punjab sun and her olive skin and reddish-brown hair reminded one of that world-famous...

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“…I wish I had a daughter” (Virsā Artwork inspired by this story: An Ode to The Trinjan)

Anecdotal Encounters Gender Dynamics in Rural Punjab Inspired by True Events Phulkari Phulkari Self Help Groups Punjab Punjab Handicrafts Rural Artisans Stories that inspired these Artworks Textiles Women's Empowerment

“…I wish I had a daughter” (Virsā Artwork inspired by this story: An Ode to The Trinjan)

Based on true events, this short story is about the emergence of a new kind of Trinjan, - "The Phulkari Self Help Group" and one Virsā Artisan's triumphant struggle. Village near Patiala (Punjab, India) – 2005 “I used to enjoy school. We used to sit on a dusty ground with our little mats under the shade of a huge old mango tree. I liked numbers a lot. Then my twin brothers were born and my mom needed me to help her with the cattle and learn how to tend to the babies. In our caste, as Jat Sikhs, it was...

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Who’s this Radcliffe guy anyway? (Virsā Artwork inspired by this story: Purana Qila - The Old Fort)

1947 Phulkari Camps Anecdotal Encounters Phulkari Punjab Punjab Handicrafts Rural Artisans Stories that inspired these Artworks Textiles The Partition of India Women's Empowerment

Who’s this Radcliffe guy anyway? (Virsā Artwork inspired by this story: Purana Qila - The Old Fort)

Purana Qila Refugee Camp, September 1947. My mother had taught me how to sew, I told them, so they would accept me in the sewing group. Well, the honest truth is I was too little and I used to watch her use the *Charkha and spin khaddar and then color it and embroider upon it with silken pat. She wanted me to learn and become the best embroiderer in our *Pind. All this until that tranquil, simple life was shorn away to bits by these politicians. The Radcliffe Line does not determine where my village started and where it ended...

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Nineteen Forty-Seven (Virsā Artwork inspired by this story: The Partition - 1947)

Anecdotal Encounters Independent India Phulkari Punjab Handicrafts Rural Artisans Stories that inspired these Artworks Textiles The Partition of India The Virsā Story

Nineteen Forty-Seven (Virsā Artwork inspired by this story: The Partition - 1947)

Old Delhi – the night of August 15, 1947. “My mother was in the middle of cooking dinner when my uncle arrived home unexpectedly, drenched in blood, badly injured, confirming ominous news that the insurgents were on their way to our neighborhood and that we must leave immediately. My mother looked at my father, who had his gun out already and we all watched him run out of the house. We never saw him again”. I was only 10 then. I am 80 now. Sometimes I still dream of our house in *Nizamuddin; my cozy little room that I shared...

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Quinine, Mangoes and Peacocks (Virsā Artwork inspired by this story: MOR - The Peacock)

A Colonial Love Story Anecdotal Encounters Artisanal Cotton Punjab Punjab Handicrafts Stories that inspired these Artworks Textiles The Virsā Story

Quinine, Mangoes and Peacocks (Virsā Artwork inspired by this story: MOR - The Peacock)

Colonial Punjab, circa 1920s in a hilly Cantonment. She had never seen a peacock before until just now when she witnessed this magnificent bird in all its glory trying to woo its mate, minutes before the clouds burst and the monsoon soaked up the parched summer earth. This was India, the crown jewel of the Great British Empire. And, she and her husband were here defending the Empire and well, civilising the barbaric, pagan natives. She wrote letters to her mother back in London and told her of the finest cottons, silks, *chai and spices she was surrounded with… and,...

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