OUR JOURNEY THROUGH NAKSHI KANTHA
New Hope Global is very excited to develop a co-created arts and crafts project working in collaboration with the local community of ethnic minority women titled ‘Our Journey through Nokshi Kantha’ supported by Amal Connects and People’s Health Trust. ‘Our Journey through Nokshi Kantha’ will use traditional arts embroidery that originates from rural Bangladesh, India, and West Bengal. Nokshi Kantha refers to an artistic pattern and uses mainly a running stitch. Traditionally these kanthas were made from old sarees and fabrics and recycled into beautiful blankets to keep them warm in winter months. Nokshi Kantha embroidery is now used to make sarees, scarves, garments, cushion covers and other household ornaments. Rural women in their leisure times or during the rainy season spend time stitching as a past time. These stitches would be passed down from generations with grandmothers to daughters to their children, they would all spend time together and build a social connection with other women in the village areas, which also helped to relieve stress.
The idea of ‘Our Journey through Nokshi Kantha’ project has been co-created with the support of women who have been involved from conception to launching the project on 30th November 2023. We continue the journey of working with the beneficiaries and local female artists. Fateha is a drama artist who will work with the women to encourage them to speak about their journey and capture the stories of their parents' and grandparents’ journeys from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India to Birmingham through drama workshops. A Nakshi Kantha Article ''Our Stories to Nakshi Kantha'' has been published in Amal Foundation's website.
The second stage of the project will work with another artist, Haseeba Ali, who will work with the group to draw the stories captured through drama onto canvases and fabrics.
The third stage of the project will be for the group to work with our third artist, Abeda who will teach them Nokshi Kantha embroidery to create on three masterpieces, an embroidery piece of their choice, followed by a 3D book made of Fabric and then a 6-meter saree which will incorporate stories captured individual stories.
The final part of the project will be to showcase all the artwork, the drama captured through videography, individual art pieces, the book, and the saree in various exhibition lead by the women engaged in this project.
Throughout the project we will use embroidery, social interactions, yoga, food, chai (tea) and friendship to combat mental health and wellbeing. We believe using arts and crafts tackle mental health issues reeling from the effects left from the Covid19 pandemic, also tackling social isolation and loneliness, bonding over memories, sharing stories and empowering women from ethnic minority to lead a creative project and enable participants to venture into a journey with lots of opportunities.