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Taaro'n ke Darmeyan
Fatima Juned


Poster, photographs and production stills from Taaro'n ke Darmeyan.


An intricate visual deep dive into the lives of women Muqaish artisans in Lucknow, exploring gendered workplaces and labour dynamics. At the forefront of this exquisite gold and silver flat metal wire craft are its artisans, whose exceptional skill and contribution remain invisible. The homes of the women artists are worlds woven with threads of embroidery, housework and childcare. There are also threads of resilience and support for each other, exemplifying the importance of female friendships, in the midst of the struggle for survival.

Artist's Statement

Whenever I entered the homes of Anees, Hina, Nureen, Malka, and Zia, I witnessed a world woven with threads of embroidery, housework, and childcare. Occasionally, I arrived when middlemen exchanged materials or collected finished work which offered these artisans a brief connection with the outside world. The search for more Muqaish work took me to the karkhana where male artisans work, who I’d observe as they interacted with customers, or their young apprentices. This showcased the differences of gendered labour of the skilled craftspersonship of both female and male artisans. It is here, that the significance of showcasing the interaction of these gendered workspaces and labour became a reality for me. Over my next few visits, I spoke to Anees secretly embroidering Muqaish to support her and her son's needs. Yet, she had to abandon it due to eye strain from embroidering in inadequate lighting at night. Nureen learnt the craft from her mother-in-law, further teaching her daughter Hina. Both Nureen and her mother in law had been supporting the household income through Muqaish at home for years. Now, Hina juggles domestic tasks alongside this work. At times, Hina would get up in the middle of her work, to attend to household chores like making tea, cooking food, or to look after her daughter, while at the karkhana, tea was ordered from outside by the male artisans as they read their morning newspaper, or they went home during lunch. Though the female artisans devote a similar amount of time to Muqaish as male artisans, their identity as homemaker takes precedence over their identity as craftswomen. Despite their contribution to the craft, the work done by female
artisans is unjustly perceived as leisure activity or a hobby, impacting their bargaining power. However, female artisans weave threads of resilience and support each other, assisting one another in work assignments, and ensuring each person has an opportunity to earn. The importance of female friendships is exemplified with artisans frequently gathering together to exchange orders and complete them collectively. Nevertheless, a poignant reality is that numerous female artisans, despite creating this exquisite craft, may never have the opportunity to adorn themselves with their creations.

About the artist

Fatima Juned is a photographer, researcher and writer from Lucknow, working on gender, human rights, labour and culture. Lucknow and its crafts hold a special place in her heart. Fatima approaches her craft with much care and admiration, capturing the essence of the city and its magnificent components along the way.

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