Dhaka, July 12 (UNB) - At Delhi’s Khirki Extension, a group of women can be seen creating fabric dolls, while music in Dari, plays in the background. Gunjan, one of them, is a refugee in Delhi, who had to leave her entire life behind in Afghanistan’s Bamyan — a place known for its monumental Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. She moved to Delhi in 2015 along with her husband and three children. Her husband, who knows Pashto, Hindi and French, works as a translator, while she runs a stitching enterprise, reports The Indian Express.
“People don’t understand my situation as a refugee. I struggled to find a job as I didn’t have an Aadhar card, and the only job I was offered demanded 12-hour work and paid only Rs 3000,” she says. “We had to leave our entire lives behind for our safety. Situations and circumstances are better here, but quality of life was better there,” says Gunjan.
But things got better after she met Iris Strill and Bishwadeep Moitra — the couple who founded Silaiwali in November last year. Silaiwali is a social enterprise that upcycles waste fabric generated from mass clothing manufacturers and uses it to create rag dolls by women refugees from Afghanistan. It works in association with UNHCR, the UN Agency for Refugees and Fair Trade Forum and Made51 Geneva. “There are so many people who are losing their homes and livelihood due to war and strife. We came in touch with a few Afghan women and wanted to help them find sustainable incomes through our skills and experience in design thinking,” says Moitra, a former journalist and graphic designer, who’s also written the book Brigitte Singh: Printress of the Mughal Garden (2018). His wife, Strill, runs the accessory brand Purple Jungle.
“Delhi-NCR is a major location for garment and soft-furnishing manufacturers for many international brands, and these productions generate a sizable quantity of waste fabric in the form of strips and end-pieces of the yardage. Usually, this waste is sold as garbage. But we decided to collect it from various factories and bring it to our studio where it is given a second life,” says Moitra. The large amount of waste fabric in the form of strips and end pieces makes the raw material for Silaiwali, where Gunjan, along with 11 other women, went through a month-long training in design, cut, stitch and embroidery. While most artisan centres, which mostly pay wages on the basis of the number of items an artisan makes, Silaiwali pays them a monthly remuneration. Plus work-life balance is easier, all of them live in the neighbourhood and work seven hours a day.
The women gave these dolls various skin tones to give them a universal appeal. “This was to show that the dolls do not conform to any nationality or race, and celebrate cultural diversity as their bodies are made of fabrics in different hues. Ethnic prints and natural materials sublimate a chic and bohemian fashion in a generous and mixed spirit. Far from the stereotypical offer of pink princess dolls, Silaiwali doll is a doll-woman of the world,” says Moitra. “Every doll is unique, wearing its own individual handmade outfit, and her story is attached with the tag to evoke an emotional connect,” he adds. The doll comes in its own box and after you open it, one sees it lying in its bed. Remove the bed cover and the doll is revealed, wearing different outfits such as muslin tunics, dresses and indigo kaftans. The packaging doesn’t use any plastic.
These dolls are available in various stores in Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Goa. To celebrate World Refugee Day, Japanese brand Uniqlo had chosen to sell Silaiwali dolls as part of their fundraiser. A store for handmade products, Einzelstück in Zürich also sells them. In the future, they plan to make dolls available in the US and add new figures such as the horse and snow leopard.
Albania, July 12 (AP/UNB) — A joint Albanian-American underwater archaeology project says it has found amphoras that are at least 2,500 years old in the Ionian Sea off the Albanian coast, which might yield an ancient shipwreck.
The research vessel Hercules of the RPM Nautical Foundation said Friday they had found 22 amphoras — a two-handled jar with a narrow neck used for wine or oil — 40-60 meters (yards) deep scattered around the seabed close to a rocky shores near the Karaburun peninsula.
Archaeologist Mateusz Polakowski said they believe the Corinthian A type amphoras date to between the 7th and the 5th century B.C.
"If the remains of a wreck can be found, it will put this discovery as the earliest ship ever to be sailing along the Albanian coast," said Polakowski.
RPM chairman James Goold considered the site as "one of the most important of all of our discoveries ... (and) it will be very important from a historical and archaeological perspective" if confirmed.
Further investigation of the site will be necessary.
Albanian archaeologist Neritan Ceka said similar wine amphoras of Corinthian and Kerkira origin have been found in Durres and Apolonia and other inland areas in Albania, something which indicates the intensive trade during the second half of the 7th century B.C. along the Albanian coast.
Since 2004, RPM has mapped Albania's offshore seabed for ancient and modern shipwrecks, with ongoing plans to open an underwater museum in western Albania.
"It certainly would be a great starting point for a national program around which to establish a museum and show the pivotal role of Albania in antiquity," said Goold.
Ceka said Albanian authorities are planning a new four-to-five-year project with RPM and the Texas-based not-for-profit Institute of Nautical Archaeology, to explore the possibilities of excavating shipwrecks, a financially expensive and scientifically delicate process.
The research in Albania has so far uncovered 28 wreck sites as well as several amphora mounds and additional finds all the way from southernmost Sarande and Butrint to Durres and it is planning to go north of Durres afterward.
RPM's presence in the last 12 years has been a "huge step" to Albania's science of underwater archaeology, according to Auron Tare, UNESCO head of the Scientific and Technical Committee for World Underwater Heritage.
"If confirmed this ship wreck can be associated with the foundation of two major cities in Albanian coastline, Dyrrachium (modern Durres) and Apolonia, both the gates of Via Egnatia, the ancient road to the eastern trade," said Tare.
"We have discovered not only ancient shipwrecks but also a good number of WWI and WWII shipwrecks shedding light to an unknown chapter of our history," said Tare.
Albania is trying to protect and capitalize on its rich underwater heritage, with scant funding for its preservation from the government one of Europe's poorest nations.
Dhaka, Jul 12 (UNB)- A two-day ceramic art workshop titled '50 Artists 100 Mugs' began at Cosmos-Atelier71 Printmaking Studio in the city’s Malibagh area on Friday.
The workshop is being conducted by Ashim Halder Sagor, a renowned artist in this form of art with support from Artpro.
Members of Cosmos-Atellier71 studio are participating in the ceramic art project.
They are Sujit Sarker, Nasrin Jahan Onika, Dr Mohammad Emdadur Rashed, Minhaz-Ul-Islam Sudipto, Kamruzzoha, Ajoy Sannyal, Rasel Rana, Shipra Biswas, Faisal Abir, Faijul Islam, Tahera Tanzim Juthi, Jayanta Sarker John, Nobanita Chowdhury, Upoma Hairder, Tanjima Tabassum Easha, Rafiuzzaman Rhythom, Abu Kalam Shamsuddin, Sampa halder, Zakia Afrose, Ahsana Nasreen Hoque Angona, Humayra Kabir, Jannatul Tamanna Liza, Tanim Rahman, Fariha Rahman, Sameen Yeasaar, Shahed Hossain, Sabina Yesmin, Rajib Mahabub, Diptha Modak, Sree Bishnu Chandra Day, Shaibal Saha, Ummey Mabruka, Tariqul Islam Herok, SM Ehsan, Shahida Akter Tilat, Muslima Rahman Moon, Sakib Salim, Prodipta Bala, Prosun Halder, Atia Maibam, Imam Mahdi, Raju Ahmed, Shazed Ul Hoq Khan Abir, Samia Proma and others.
The ceramic project will remain open for the viewers from 10 am to 5 pm till Saturday at the Cosmos-Atelier71 Printmaking Studio at Cosmos Centre.
Pamplona, Jul 11 (AP/UNB) — One person was gored in the arm and five others were injured during the fifth bull run of this year's San Fermin festival in Pamplona, officials in the northern Spanish city said Thursday.
Regional hospital spokesman Tomás Belzunegui said that the six were in need of hospital care after being injured during the race along the 930-yard (850-meter) cobbled-street course to the bullring.
The most serious injury was suffered by a 27-year-old man from the Spanish city of Valencia who was gored in the arm. The other injuries were from blows received in falls as the crowds of runners tumble out of the way of the much faster bulls.
The run featuring bulls from the Victoriano del Río Cortés cattle breeder lasted 2 minutes, 49 seconds, making it the longest of this year's festival. The bulls mainly stayed on course behind the steers which guide them through the narrow, twisting streets to Pamplona's bullring, where the bulls will be killed in bullfights later in the day.
The nine-day San Fermin fiesta that was immortalized by Ernest Hemingway in his novel "The Sun Also Rises" attracts about 1 million spectators every year. Most come to party late into the night before watching hundreds test their speed and daring against the bulls each morning.
Tokyo, Jul 9 (AP/UNB) — Countless cats beckon visitors at a temple in a quiet Tokyo neighborhood.
Legend provided by the Gotokuji Buddhist temple says it is the birthplace of beckoning cats, the figurines widely believed to bring good luck and prosperity.
Some visitors come to the temple to snap a few photos, while others pray and make wishes.
The cat figurines are so plentiful, the Setagaya neighborhood seems proud to carry more luck than the rest of the city combined.
The streets leading to the temple are crammed with gift shops selling anything printed with beckoning cat images. A local train dons the images, and so does the temple's vending machine.
And, of course, temple visitors believing in the luck the cats might bring them can obtain more figurines for their overpopulated shelves.