Independence through seed art

Gram Art Project is sowing seeds of change for the women of four villages

On the border between Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh lies a little village called Paradsinga. Its a village with a difference, and has been the hub of culture and education in the area for the past three years or so. One of the young guns at the centre of this movement of sorts is 20-year-old Nutan Dwivedi, who visited Chennai over the weekend to spread her work further.

As a member of the Paradsinga-based Gram Art Project, Dwivedi spends her days trudging to nearby villages, offering alternative employment to the women there. There are a total of 50 women, whom I teach how to make seed bands, she says, on the sidelines of the reStore 10 – Safe Food Festival organised at Stella Maris College.

The seed bands are essentially wrist bands which have organic seeds embedded in them. They can pass off as both rakhis and friendship bands, and are a means to provide some semblance of economic independence for these women. They dont have the permission to leave their homes or travel, so I go to each household and teach them for free, says Dwivedi.