happy new year!
today we were able to hold our first official workshop with both groups of women, the dalit and sex workers. before heading to new light, we ventured around the streets to gather magazines, paper, and other art materials for the workshop. through much effort we found a fabulous art store that has been opened for one hundred and forty years! the owner, pictured bellow is the fourth generation to run the shop.
cnce we arrived at new light devon and i prepared for the workshop. the goal of the day was to begin to teach the women methods of composition and narrative. ultimately, we’d like the kantha quilts to tell the stories of the women making them with personal imagery. the method devon and i introduced uses photographs from around kalighat as a framework for a collage of paper patterning. prior to the arrival of the anchal group devon and i created our own versions of collage. while working, familiar faces peered over our shoulders – the new light children’s curiosity and their smiling faces are always great encouragement.
once the women arrived urmi helped us introduce the project and explain the importance of narrative. we passed out the supplies with hopes of gaining insight into their lives. however, it took a bit of effort to convince the women to cut into the paper, especially the magazines. i was extremely excited once confidence built and smiles appeared on faces. by encouraging them to express themselves beautiful collages were created and (hopefully) self-confidence grew.
as we recapped with urmi and arnab they told us that this was probably the first time any of the women had been presented the opportunity to artistically express themselves and even hold a magazine much less rip one apart. we were all struck at the joy on the faces of the women. for the first time i was receiving smiles from some of the older sex workers. overall we had a great day!
grabbing a refreshing drink in kalighat steps away from the main entrance to the red light district
the curious children of new light quietly observing colleen at work
urmi translating the collage project to a group of women
one of the women explaining the principles of narrative collage to the others