Parvez bhai is an aari embroidery artisan, he has been practicing this craft ever since he was a little child. In our many conversations, he told us how 25 years back when he was just a little kid, he used to sit with his uncle, the master artisan and observe him work. He says that he was never taught how to use an aari needle, he only learned through observation.
Aari is a technique of embroidery whose needle looks much like a crochet one, with a tiny hook on one end. Unlike the regular embroidery techniques, the thread in technique runs from under the cloth, the needle pulls it up thus making chain stitches.
This is Parvez bhai’s interpretation of one of our modern artworks.
“Esa lag raha hai jaise koi sau saal purana jungle hota hai na, idhar udhar saunkhe ghusi hui hoti hai ek dusre ke andar. Veerana sa jaise koi, Insaan dekh ke ghabra jaata hai, bhayanak sa koi. Bhoot toh baadme aata hai, Pehle insaan jungle se hi darr jata hai. Esa hi lagta hai ki, kaha se bachke niklega insaan, bach ke hi nahi nikal sakta. Agar is jungle me ghus jaye, toh lazmi hai zarur uske kaante lagenge.”
Translated: It looks like it is a hundred-year-old jungle. Branches are making a web amongst themselves, coming from everywhere. Like some old deserted place that you get scared just look at, very scary. Ghosts would come later, one would get scared just looking at this jungle. It feels like there is no escape. Where will you escape from, you cant. if someone enters this jungle, its a given that he will hurt himself, the thorns will prick him everywhere.
India is so rich in her crafts, and the artisans’ understanding is rooted in traditional patterns. It is very fascinating for them when we make visuals that are far away from their work. These new visuals, not only challenges their understanding of art but also gives us a peek into how they would interpret something we do. One can understand where they come from, by the way they talk about this work.