Sikki - The Grass on the greener Side


2018, Madhubani bihar.

“Aam, paan, Makhaan”, they say for Madhubani. Much like the mango from the Madhubani the language drips with sweetness too. What astonishes is the simple living and the vast imagination . Be it Madhubani art, the ritualistic festivals or the very articulate Sikki grass art. The land of Patliputra has a method to everything they do.  

Women gather and in minutes transform the unresponsive walls into expressive murals. Gulabi alta at the feet of women is like those first strokes of colour on the fresh canvass. To put it to imagination; Madhubani is like- The room filled with chatters and as the hands begin to show the magic the chatters are slowly engulfed by the peculiar music from the grass being woven. 

It is interesting to hear their stories as to how years back in time they would all in parallel be living their lives in formats and the divisions patriarchy sets for them. Dreamers- timid but persistent and unknown. Today, still the same timid eyes but their art shining bright for them to be identified, recognized and be counted as breadwinner. Redefining the Idea of a working Indian woman.

I was amazed as to how they could precisely understand the complex structures of form and would bring them to reality. The process includes harvesting the grass, dying it in bright hues and then using a single tool "Takua" to weave it in desired forms.

  

With the project we intended to challenge the ways in which the grass interacts with humans in its scale and usage in a give space. And so The Idea to weave headgears and wearables would be a departure from the usual products as Lamps, screens and furnitures.

we delved into making bangles in scales, hues and forms, Eyeware frames, headgears and corsets, each opening ways for possibilities.
 

Through the project the idea was to blur the boundaries of art, craft and expression. To explore the realm of wearable art.

 

The best part being- every time we pull open the bag to show the products we spill some genuine smiles and tonnes of selfies follow.
 

 


The project was done by Akanksha Rathore when she worked as a designer for Asian heritage foundation, under the guidance of mr. Rajeev Sethi.
It was a World bank Livelihood Project that enabled artisans to learn new techniques and product forms for better opportunities and exposure.