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On the Occasion of Women’s Day, Delhi Welcomes Hamari Virasat: A Travelling Textile Exhibit Spotlighting Women Artisans of India

Hamari Virasat
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Delhi, India

Hamari Virasat (Our Heritage), an initiative of the Hand For Handmade Foundation, is on display in Delhi at The India Habitat Center from March 8-17. The traveling exhibition launched in Mumbai earlier this year ahead of India’s 75th Republic Day before traveling to Ahmedabad in February. The showcase in Delhi is presented by the National Foundation for India.

The handloom and handicrafts sector is second only to agriculture as an employment generator and offers livelihoods to numerous artisans in rural and semi-urban areas. As reported by the International Trade Centre women constitute over 80% of the handicraft workforce. Given this year’s Women’s Day theme, “Inclusion Matters“, Hamari Virasat is dedicated to raising awareness and showcasing the artistic prowess of women and enterprises led by them in the upcoming Delhi Chapter of the exhibition.

We launched Hamari Virasat to highlight India’s artisan sector and its pivotal role in nation-building and empowering women. Recognizing its significant contribution to livelihoods, Hand for Handmade is proud to feature 75 textile organisations/individuals as part of the Constitution’s 75th anniversary celebrations. Many of these artworks are made by women and we aim to spark dialogue around the importance of this sector both for women’s empowerment and employment as well as for nation-building,” said Shibani Dasgupta Jain, Founder of Hand for Handmade Foundation.

An intriguing link between India’s Constitution and women’s contributions lies in the Constituent Assembly. Initially comprising 15 women members, with two more elected later. Biraj Patnaik, Executive Director, National Foundation for India (NFI), speaking on the occasion, said, “NFI is very privileged to bring the Hamari Virasat show to Delhi to celebrate 75 years of the Indian Constitution. Women artisans continue to play a vital role in preserving crafts and their contribution is largely unheralded like the role the founding mothers who helped draft the Indian Constitution played in the nation building project. This exhibition is being organised as part of the NFI’s year long campaign, Samvidhan Se Hum.”

Vinita Gursahani Singh, Founder of We, The People Abhiyan and knowledge partner for Hamari Virasat further added, “The diversity and craftsmanship in the Indian artisan sector mirrors the Constitution’s ideals of liberty, fraternity, justice, and equality. With its myriad forms and practices, this sector represents a microcosm of Indian society, embodying the constitutional vision of a diverse yet unified nation.

Hamari Virasat features 75 different 1mx1m artworks in distinct styles woven together to represent unity in diversity. Each artwork is inspired by the art from the preamble of the Indian Constitution while being unique in its style and representation. The mural visually demonstrates the deep link between constitutional values and the artisanal sector’s role in shaping our nation’s progress.

Along with this travelling exhibition to spotlight the sector on the 75th anniversary of the Constitution, the Hand for Handmade Foundation also has a digital learning platform in the pipeline to provide India’s first free, multilingual, e-learning content repository for the artisan and handmade industry. The larger purpose of this innovative endeavour is to safeguard the artisan sector in India, which employs millions, particularly women, and is vital for inclusive growth, empowerment, and sustainability.

 

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