This work was a part of Fracture: Indian Textiles, New Conversations. A show co-curated by Rahul Jain, Mayank Mansingh Kaul, and Sanjay Garg, involving an array of textile commissions by Lekha and Anupam Poddar founders of Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, India.
In Sujani, the technique of sewing together pieces of old cloth, layered together, has it's age old function in two belief systems.
First, cloth bound together by sujani served a ritual function- it invoked the presence of a deity, Chitriya Ma, the lady of the tatters. In it is enshrined the holistic Indian concept that all parts belong to the whole and must return to it. The other purpose of stitching old pieces of cloth together was to wrap the newborn; to allow it to be enveloped in soft embrace, resembling that of it's mother. When dissected the tern 'sujani' reflects the above mentioned functional nature of this practice- su means easy and facilitating, while jani means birth. Sujani also was a ritualistic creation, a primary component for the Kobarghar (nuptial chamber ) and gifts to family members.
Care, protection, love seem to be the core underlying purpose of creation of sujani by women in Bihar. The piece attempts to portray women, who like a protective shell guard, facilitate and nurture while weathering formidable inner and external forces.