Sewn between the delicate mirrors, intricate thread, and vibrant fabric are the stories of the tribal women of Kutch. The district of Kachchh, located in India's Gujarat state, is home to over 20 traditionally practiced crafts, from embroidery to weaving to tie dye; each community with a distinct style unique to their history, culture, and identity. However, a period of extended economic hardship, numerous environmental disasters, and market liberalization has led to the commercialization of this craftswork—crafts once practiced for their own communities are now produced for others.
In the complex warp and weft of women’s lives, changes have not been straightforward; on the one hand, commercialization has allowed for a revival of the craftswork tradition. On the other hand, it has fundamentally changed these communities’ relationships to an integral part of their identity.
This project explores the intersections between art, justice, and labor through the crafts of Kutch. It asks the questions: What happens when cultural identity must be negotiated through the market? How do global changes manifest themselves in something as intimate as a woman’s artwork? Will craftswork and craftswomen have a future in Kachchh?
×PART OF: Threads of Kutch: The Changing Lives of India's CraftswomenFebruary 13, 2024