Parshaben: Khumbar of Kutch

The opening of Ghadai was a huge success.  I spent the day greeting artisans I have been working with and meeting members of their families.  The whole exhibition looks amazing (seriously, come to Bhuj and see it), but my favorite part was the section dedicated to the women kumbhars of Kutch.  This section highlighted six prominent female potters and showcased their work.  Two of the artisans featured are Sarahben and her daughter, Parshaben.pottery from lodai kutch

My last artisan spotlight focused on Sarahben, a kumbhar who lives her life constantly challenging traditional female roles.  She raised her daughter to live the exact same way.  Parshaben continues her mother’s legacy as a renowned female potter and painter in Lodai.  She moved there when she was married to live with her new in-laws.  Instead of working in the fields with her new farming family, Parshaben decided to continue working on her pottery.  Because her mother is such a well-known potter, her in-laws supported her work, knowing that she would be able to be financially successful.  Sarahben has taught most of Pashaben’s in-laws how to paint.  During her busy seasons, her husband, mother in-law, and sisters-in-law help her with whatever she needs- from painting her pieces to smaller more assistant like tasks.  On one field visit to Lodai, Parshaben told the pottery team that during really busy times, her husband runs around like her executive assistant, helping her with all of her pieces.

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P.S. In addition to my blog, you can find stories about empowered women artisans of Kutch in Vogue India!  This month’s issue features the article, “Kutch 22”, all about Ghadai and the badass women kumbhars that continue pottery in Kutch.  Stay tuned for more information on Vogue’s coverage Kutch women artisans!

Highlights: Virginia recently graduated from Tulane University where she completed degrees in Public Health, International Development, and Gender & Sexuality Studies. For the past four years, Virginia has been very passionate about work with New Orleans public health involving sex education, reproductive health, and proper nutrition. She was a sex education teacher, a youth mentor, and a global justice intern with a free health clinic where she helped start a farmer's market and led a weekly women's wellness class. She spent her junior year abroad in India living in Delhi and Dharamsala conducting fieldwork on the reproductive health care status of Tibetan refugees.

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