Sunday, October 4, 2015

'Unpicked' - A Bernina Pictogram Project

Earlier this year, I was invited to participate in a group project on the BERNINA International Blog.

Last year, with the help of Jutta Hellbach a well-known German artist, BERNINA put together a creative Project on the Web called “People”.  European artists got the opportunity to create a piece of textile art which had to feature a Pictogram. These panels were then displayed as an exhibition at Quilt and Textile Events around Europe.

When I saw the invite I knew I wanted to be a part of it! And immediately informed Bernina India so.

Early last week, I received my package. 

When I looked at it I was happy with the colours and the material. But nothing more really 'clicked'.

By the end of the week, I had nothing much to work on. Inspiration struck when I listened to a report in the news about the increased incidents of female foeticides. 

What is Female Foeticide?

Female Foeticide is deliberately getting rid killing a fetus in the womb after a confirmation that it is a female from an ultrasound sex determination. There are a lot of reasons behind that. But the root of it all is gender inequality. Even today, parents of girls have to pay dowry to 'secure' her future with a 'good' husband! It is the sad truth of the community around me. My state ranks 6th in the Sex Ratio in the country - standing at 114 boys for 100 girls. (Researchers say the normal ratio is between 103 to 107)

Here is the quilt that I made.

It is a very strong quilt, I must admit. The process of making it was emotionally draining. Every stitch that I unpicked, made me think about doctors doing this to an actual fetus! In some cases, since its illegal, the mother (more often than not, against her wish) is taken to a non-doctor. The measures that they use to 'unpick' the girl from her mother's womb puts even the mother's life at risk. But they do not care about her life either. After all, she is just another Woman! 

I also used Marathi and Hindi words for Boy and Girl in the quilt - मुलगा (मुलगी) & लडका (लडकी)

I am very glad that even though I was born at a time when sex determination was not illegal, and gender based discrimination was the 'normal' way of life, my parents brought me up as a strong, confident and self assertive individual. They never let the fact that I was a girl come between me and my goals! They taught me to be independent. They taught me to respect others and earn their respect. They made me the person I am today. I can never thank them enough for it.

At the same time, I am also thankful that my better half, Rohit, and his family isn't gender biased either. I have never been given any less respect or opportunity because I am not a 'son' of the family. In fact, sometimes I think they are more biased on my side than his! All my endeavors have been met with appreciation and encouragement! Without their support I would not be able to do what I do today.

I hope that every girl gets the same love, respect, encouragement, opportunity and appreciation that I get from both my families! 

Because, you're worth it!

Quilt Stats :
Name : "Unpicked"
Size : 22 cm x 28 cm 
Material Used : Felt, Mettler and Aurifil thread
Technique used : Free Motion Quilting
Experience : Beyond words!

1 comment :

  1. Amazing piece! I worked in obstetrics for many years and know what you speak of sadly. There used to be a physician just across the border from Vancouver B.C. In Wahington state who offered u/s sex determination targeting the south Asian Canadian community. It is not legal to disclose sex identity until after 24 weeks in B.C. One of the physicians I worked with did a piece on the local news showing how difficult it is to identify sex identity on two fetus who were lost by nature, not intent. They also shared a story of a couple who were told they were having a girl and decided not to terminate. At delivery they were surprised to find the child was a boy and very thankful they did not take the termination route.


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