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Durga on Kantha

Kantha revivalist Shamlu Dudeja is set to give the traditional art of West Bengal a different touch by portraying Durga in her kantha works. “I have tried to bring together two intangible cultures of the state, Durga and kantha,” said Shamlu on Monday at her Alipore home.

The result is exquisitely-crafted panels of kantha depicting Durga in various forms in which she is worshipped. So think Shiv-Shakti or Durga with her children, just like she’s worshipped during the Pujas. “We even have a panel with all 31 forms of Durga stitched on it and one representing the concept of Mahalaya,” adds Shamlu.

Ask her what prompted her to invoke the goddess in her work and she says, “Durga not only the represents the power of Bengal but also of women. With women making these pieces, they become all the more worthy. The members of SHE (Self Help Enterprise, Shamlu’s NGO) are very creative. They gave some of the most interesting designs here.”

These pieces will be exhibited for sale in the ITC Sonar corridor and art gallery from October 19-24 between 11am and 7pm. Prices begin around Rs 4,000.

Meanwhile, Shamlu plans to send Amitabh Bachchan a piece from this Durga collection for his 70th birthday on October 11. “A friend of mine is going to attend his birthday. So I plan to send it through him,” says Shamlu, who is hoping that Bachchan will help her present her work in Gujarat, the state he is brand ambassador of.