Archive for November, 2009

Mohammad Yousaf,

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Ariwork Embroidery Craftsman

LOCATION: Gandar Bal, Srinagar, India

Mohammad Yousaf is a very skilled craftsman in the “ariwork” style of embroidery. He belongs to the young and educated breed of craftsman who have managed to have a relatively more fruitful career. With a college education, he inspires the youth to have faith in this art.

Success has not come easy as he has to put in long hours everyday to ensure that he can provide well for his family. A strong support and matching his steps, is his wife. She has also received training in this art and shoulders the work responsibilities with her husband. Together, they have found a balance where they continue to grow their work and raise their three children. The children attend school and their after school hours are a delightful blend of fun and initiation into the art of embroidery.

He culminates his experience into guiding upcoming craftsmen towards achieving perfection and harmony of colors and motifs. Craftsman like him are the bright future of this art in Kashmir.

Mohammad Yusuf Zargar

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Ariwork Embroidery Craftsman

LOCATION: Ahmed Nagar, Srinagar, India

Mohammad Zargar is another gem that has remained tucked away in the valleys. In his late sixties, he is a craftsman with decades of experience and an exceptional eye for colors. The motifs come to life in his hands and the shawls are pieces of art. He specializes in a style of embroidery called “Ariwork”

Economic necessities saw him take to it from an early age he missed out on a chance to education. He brought up his family of four children on the earnings from his craftsmanship. Though always struggling to overcome poverty, he remained committed to his work. His children have been initiated into this art and today his daughter are married. One of the two sons has taken on the family legacy and continues in his father’s footsteps.

Ghulam Mohammad dar

Monday, November 30th, 2009
Papier Machie Embroidery Craftsman

Papier Machie Embroidery Craftsman

LOCATION: Village-Shawl Har Dab, Srinagar, India

Ghulam Mohammad Dar is a master craftsman. What sets him apart was his decision to take on this demanding way earning a living even though he had a choice of a more profitable career. Having a college education laid open a wide selection of carrers to pursue, But Ghulam Dar chose to live the life of a carftsman and nurture the traditional career of his fore fathers.

He has passed on the skills to all of his five children. They have taken it up and he not only heads the joint family set up but is also the backbone of this art in his village. His house is often the gathering place. The receiving room has a coterie of craftsmen working under his able guidance.

An expert in the paper machie style of embroidery, today he has a rich experience of over 40 years. He is at a point in his life where he knows the hardships that a craftsman goes through in his career and is in a constant struggle to provide well for his family. This knowledge saddens him a little, but for a moment. With a sense of purpose, he looks forward with hope and works on guiding the young craftsman under him. He wants to do his bit to secure a vibrant and optimistic future for the art of embroidery.

Ghulam Hassan

Monday, November 30th, 2009
Craftsman

Ghulam Hassan

LOCATION: Village – Shawlhar Dab, Srinagar, India

Born into a family of craftsmen, Ghulam specializes in the art of “paper machie” embroidery and inherited this art from his father. As a child, he saw his father and uncles sitting by their hearth, embroidering and spinning. No wonder it came naturally to him. Economic necessities saw him take to it from an early age. Educational span was a few years after which he became a full time craftsman. In his mid-thirties today, he has 15 years of experience behind him. Work is on a contract basis of daily wages and he works from 8-10hrs a day. If he doesn’t get embroidery work then it’s farming to supplement the basic income

Raising three children on meager income is a struggle. Daily necessities are barely met, and the education of the children will always be threatened because of inadequate resources. These stark realities fade away when he puts the needle to the cloth and turns out exquisite samples of workmanship.

Ghulam Rasool

Monday, November 30th, 2009
Ghulam Rasool

Ghulam Rasool

His life is mirrored by that of his counterparts, for he is one of the many craftsman in Srinagar, who labors long hours for a pitiful income that sees him scrape by, from hand to mouth, month after month.

At 55 years, he has put in more than 30 years of hard labor. The endless hours have come at the cost of weakened eyesight and back problems. These sort of ailments are almost a certain outcome of lifetimes spent in such kind of jobs. A lack of education because of poverty saw him take to this art. It may not be much, but it has been a saving grace from abject poverty he would have been thrust into had it not been for employment through embroidery. Of the three girls and two boys, none have taken it up and look towards other careers for a better chance at life!!!

There could be no worse eventuality than this for a beautiful art such as this. To change this tide, the support needs to be strengthened for them and others like them as the contractual wages allow a bare sustenance level. In their middle age, they have multiple health problems coupled with apathy from the next generation. The richness of this art can make a positive difference to the lives of people dependent on it for their livelihood and reaffirm that its future can be as illustrious as the past. For that to happen, the people whose hands have carried it’s secrets over the ages need to be heard and looked after.