Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 28, Tuesday July 15, 2008



Our Pick

Stitch in time...

Aarong has always been a pioneer when it comes to upholding the glorious and intricate craftsmanship of the traditional and the indigenous people of Bangladesh. And throughout the three decades of its existence, the team behind the enterprise has dedicatedly worked towards ensuring the development of people in rural parts of the country through such traditions and crafts as Nakshi Kantha and Jamdani, folk arts and handicrafts that represent the people of Bangladesh and in their own fascinating way, tell the story of their humble creators.

As part of the 30th anniversary celebrations, Aarong inaugurated a Nakshi Kantha Exhibition titled “Story of Stitches” at the National Art Gallery of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on July 15, 2008. The weeklong exhibition, which will continue till 29 July, 2008, will be displaying Nakshi Kantha in the form of priceless family heirlooms, collected from different parts of the country, and through the intricate weaves of each 'art work' a distinct story is told. The exhibition also includes other products of Aarong that exclusively comprise of this particular work. These items include saris, shalwar kameez, kurtis, panjabi, shawls, bedspreads, cushion covers, wall hangings lamp shades, tablespreads, jewellery boxes, etc.

Nakshi Kantha is a prime example of a folk art that is truly Bangladeshi. As the name suggests, it had been primarily used in Kanthas only, but due to the initiative taken by different institutions, the scope of Nakshi Kantha has extended widely from traditional uses such as sujani kantha, lep kantha, shishu kantha, dostorkhan, etc., to our modern daily household items and fashionable garments.

In 1978, Aarong, started an initiative in Jamalpur through BRAC's development programme to organise, train and support, rural women through the art of Nakshi Kantha. Later, this initiative took institutional shape in the establishment of the Ayesha Abed Foundation (AAF). Today, there are 16,000 women in four AAF's in Jamalpur, Sherpur, Jessore and Kushtia. Over the last thirty years, the art of Nakshi Kantha has increasingly developed, with designers using the particular stitch in more modern uses and interpretations.

With “Story of Stitches”, Aarong hopes to provide a new chapter to this beautiful art and a renewed platform for appreciation to the arts and craft patrons of the country.

On the day of the inauguration, eight women artisans selected by AAF were awarded the “Master Craftsperson Award” for their excellence and dedication in Kantha stitching. A crest and a check worth Tk 20,000 was presented to each artisans by Aarong.

The programme began with a welcome note from Tamara Abed, Director of Aarong and AAF, followed by further speeches from Chandra Shekhar Shaha, consultant of Aarong, chief guest Rashed K. Choudhury, Advisor to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, special guest Professor Mohammad Kibria, and finally concluded with a thank you note from Mohammad A. Ali, Managing Director of BRAC Enterprises.

By Farina Noireet
Photo: Zahedul I Khan


Mini Mart

Mini mart, contradicting to its name, offers a wide range of gist in the household items and fashion wear. Emphasizing on deshi products, chairperson and designer Khadeeja Abzal along with her team of designers comes up with unique ideas to work on their products. A lot is done to track the trends with varieties in design and colour combination.
Stunning work of kantha stitch, embroidery, block, appliqué, plain stitch and khari has been put in their collection of saris and shalwar suits. While the saris have been made out of a wide range of muslin, jamdani, Tangail and taant mostly, the kameez's have been cut from dhupian, voile and the like. There is no need to break the bank to make your purchase here, as this mart will show you stylish budget dresses for every occasion, that too, within very reasonable prices. The saris will cost you Tk 650-12,000 and the shalwar kameez will be around Tk 1,500.

Their is also a home décor section, where the items include table cloths, napkins, cushion covers, bed sheets, bed cover, etc., which have been similarly toiled wonderfully; typically using vegetable dye colours. “Although we have a large collection of bright colo urs, we work on lighter colours mainly”, said Roger Penheiv, the manager of Mini Mart. Different kinds of designs have been mixed and matched to create grand floral impressions and other effects on all their items. In addition to all this, they also sell special gift items like photo frames and jewellery boxes at a reasonable price. Having branches at Pink City, Genetic Plaza and Bailey Road, this boutique has lucratively served the entire Dhaka segment since 1995. Mini mart claims their designs to be different and unique. Moreover, they provide unstitched pieces and tailor according to the customer needs. At present, they are looking forward to Eid and the designs are ready to be out in the stores soon.

By Zion Ara Hamid

On The Cover

As the rains come pouring down, glam it up with a little colour and shine. Flip to page 7 as we show you how to make the best of the wet season.

Photo: Dressydale

Only the young

Since when did that cute little angel who used to follow you around everywhere become such a spoilt brat, you wonder. Life used to be easier, huh? Now that your sibling has reached his/her teens, you suddenly realise that simply stuffing his mouth with a lollypop to make him stop doing something does not work anymore. Messy rooms, talking over the phone throughout the night… the problems seem endless. One particular worry you are likely to have is seeing your sibling staying outdoors for painfully long hours, even entire nights, to stay over with friends. How do you overcome this?

Don't get mad and shout at your sibling. It will do no good. Instead, talk things out. Tell him what exactly it is that you don't want him to do, and give reasons. After all, an older brother or sister should be a friend, rather than someone who is feared. You'll be surprised how understanding they can be. Listen to them as well.

Don't be a control-freak; give them some freedom. Don't simply jump to conclusions like staying out late or spending a night at a friend's home will ruin his studies, etc. Also, Dhaka is not a safe place. But that doesn't give you the right to take away all the joy out of his/her life! In fact, activities like stay-over and hanging out with friends are indeed necessary for the proper development of teen mentality.

Make your little brother or sister promise to keep the cell phone on all the time. Contact him often (but don't overdo this and make him irritated) to know about his whereabouts. Know his friends, maybe by taking the time to hang out with them sometimes. Work towards making your younger sibling trust you instead of fearing you.

The bottom-line is: don't be obsessed with the fact that your younger brother or sister is staying outdoors or is hanging out with friends. Give them freedom, but draw the boundaries, and these limits must not be maintained by the stick-approach. Trust and cooperation is really important. Teenage years are exciting and full of adventures and self-discovery. Be a part of it instead of battling against it!

By M H Haider



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