From being a pillar of strength to her husband, loving mother to her kids, a companion to her friends and a professional – one has seen army wives step into myriad roles.
As part of women empowerment, Eastern Command ,AWWA organised a unique exhibition of Homegrown Talents of Army Wives on the occasion of International Women’s Day which was held on 11 and 12 March at ICCR(Indian Council For Cultural Relations) in Kolkata.
Nisha Kalita, Regional President, AWWA,Eastern Command inaugurated this exhibition by lamp Litting.
“I am proud and happy to present “Abhyeti“, an exhibition by AWWA.
One of the goals of AWWA is to empower our members so that they become financially independent.
By providing them this platform, we want to showcase their talent to a wider audience, instil confidence and boost their self belief.
This is the second such exhibition on the occasion of International Women’s Day, presenting the creative talent of AWWA Entrepreneurs and we hope to make this a regular calendar fixture to promote and support our AWWA members”, she said.
It’s really an honour to arrange an exhibition here in Kolkata – Neerupama Handa, wife of Major General Vinay Handa told.
She is an artist of wearable art, hand painted clothing etc. Neerupama is in this profession for more than 20 years and has exhibited her talents nicely.
“This pan India exhibition is organised by central AWWA and basically the main motto of this exhibition is to empower the women here. In Army we have lots of talents. But ladies are moving with their husbands and sometimes they are not able to follow their passion. They are looking after their kids, men are on the borders and they are working all the time. So, this is an exhibition to give opportunities to Army wives. In short, the motto is to give this platform an opportunity to showcase their talents.”—Ms.Handa added.
Kanta Gurung wife of Havildar Sanju Kumar Gurung is a hand made Madhubani and Mandala art Specialist.This young lady was also awarded earlier by AWWA for her incredible work.”AWWA helps me a lot and this organization gave me a golden opportunity to showcase my work infront of all”, she said.
“Painting is a therapy for me.I paint for joy, not only for money”- she added with a big smile .
Sushila Chhetri wife of JCO Santosh Chhetri also participated in this exhibition. She loves to do Crochet Works.. “I am very happy to come here. My husband always supports me to do this.” delightedly she shared with me.
It was hobby turned in Passion..Minal Nimbalkar said with a twinkle smile.Wife of Lt Col Sachin Nimbalkar, Minal loves to do Fabric Design.
“Initially, due to covid restrictions I started stitching my own clothes myself. Then, my interest developed in stitching and made use of old sewing machine which was kept in my store room. My kids motivated me to make soft toys which I tried with the help of my sewing machine … Amazingly the soft toy came out to be really good…
immediately, I did a overhauling of the sewing machine and started doing some difficult designs such as purses, google covers ,sling bags etc… again my hand was moving so swiftly on sewing machine that I couldn’t believe it…this made me to realise that I really enjoy stitching. Later, I started collecting cut peices from left over fabrics which added rich colours to my designs. Today was my first display for public and this was possible only because of AWWA, who motivated us to register ourselves as enterpreneurs. This is how I could convert my hobby into passion.”
“I hail from Land of Tagore, “Shantiniketan”. Dance, music, Embroidery, Fabric Painting, handicrafts etc has been my passion since childhood”.
Banashri Nandi ,wife of Col Shubhashish Nandi told smilingly.
“I have opened a Boutique, “The Kaarigars Hut” an exclusive ladies garments store at Ordnance Club, Hastings in Kolkata.
I design and Embroidery Kantha work and also get them hand embroidered by artisans from Shantiniketan, West Bengal since Feb 2021″.
This is the city of some of the India’s greatest painters and it has a big community of art buffs and enthusiasts,” Aparajita ,a Ph.D student of Kolkata shared her thoughts.
“Kolkata is a vibrant city and I think people take to culture and art as fish in water.So it’s a very good opportunity for Army ladies.”Shuvam, a fine arts student of Kolkata said.
An University student of Kolkata, Dalia, told me that collection of Sarees are good but the prices appear to be on high side.
Army wives with exemplary creativity exhibited a range of arts – Mandala, Zentangle, Acrylic painting, Pencil sketches, fabric art, Madhubani, water colour, canvas paintings and a lot more. Other than artistic work, a variety of handmade craft items were also showcased – Handmade Resin products, Decoupage, Alcohol inks, Mixed Media, handbags, embroidery works, jewellery and Artefacts.
The Art gallery was full of talents of Army wives. The visitors who came to witness the exhibition were truly amazed and mesmerized.
This Pan India exhibition won the hearts of common Calcuttans too.
Report- Pratyusha Mukherjee, Broadcast Journalist, BBC News
(Author is a senior Journalist and covers Defence and Sports related issues more than a decade.
In her illustrated career she has covered many major events and achieved National and International media awards for Journalism.)