Chikankari- A 400 year old art, patronized first by the Nawabs of Awadh and now by the elite across our country….neither is it unusual now to see actors and actresses flaunt gorgeous designer chikan apparels with aplomb….a flourishing industry, by all accounts. And those precious hands that create this intricate web of magic, surely they’re flourishing with it, right…?
The ground reality is far darker than we imagine ….yes, it’s a flourishing industry, with growing awareness about it within and outside India, but for the thousands and thousands of workers, working tirelessly in terrible conditions, time seems to have stood still. Little has changed for them over the years……they are still uneducated, grossly underpaid and horribly exploited. Their sole aim – to put food on the table and to this end, they work in poor light conditions, sitting hunched over to produce piece after piece of this marvelous art. And yet each day of hard work earns them only a pittance, because the “agents” who bring them the business pocket the lavish commissions.
Which makes the feat of this special group of women even more applaudable. Chikanbarn salutes these 37 women and their painstaking journey of awareness which took them from their homes to the Registrar General of Patents, with a petition that their beautiful art be awarded the GI status under the Intellectual Property Rights, protecting it from cheap machine work imitations and agents in the market by linking artisans directly to the market and ensuring quality assurance.
We’re proud to be associated with ‘Chikankari’, a documentary by Shalini Raghaviah, on the struggle and the dauntless spirit of these women, and their goal to achieve a place in the world craft map.
This film is being crowdfunded through Catapooolt, and is now in the fundraising stage, targeted for release by May 2015. It is our sincere belief that exposure of this form can only benefit the art and through that, the artisans. We all talk the talk, now it’s time to walk the walk. Even a small contribution from you can go a long way in generating interest and awareness. We have made our contribution and look forward to all our patrons to come ahead and help Ms.Shalini Raghaviah in her endeavor … contribution start INR 99 and Catapooolt have Big Flix vouchers and other goodies as thank you gifts.
To know more about the film, and to make your contributions, visit https://catapooolt.com/chikankari