Daughters Of Clay: Women Clay Modellers Of Kumartuli


Kolkata(PTI): The women clay modellers of Kumartuli, the famous potters hub here are making their mark with passion and nerve.

China Pal, one of the few women artisans in the potters hub here, made a large number of Durga idols this year.

Pal, the youngest of six siblings, was once reprimanded by her father for playing with clay in his studio.

People taunted and ridiculed her when she chose clay modelling as a career in 1994.

But she never gave up.

“There were many who had advised me to sell-off the studio but I did not listen. Today, after 20 years in the business, I am happy and proud that I have become the flag-bearer of my father s clay art studio and stick to the gharana of Ekchala idols,” China Pal told PTI.

Pal is one of the three women featured in the documentary Daughters of Clay – a tribute to the daughters of Kumartuli.

The documentary ‘Kanya Rupeno, Daughters of Clay’ also talks about Mala Pal and Kakoli Pal, two other women clay modellers of the hub.

“We had initially been discouraged to take the calling at a place where traditionally the art of clay modelling was being handed down from father to son. But we never gave up and our grit and determination prevailed,” the duo said.

“In a potter’s family, a girl is even discouraged from entering the studio. It was an unequal battle in a traditional male bastion where even to this day women don t get equal recognition for their talent, as their male counterparts,” Mala said.

“However, there have been greater acceptance all around as we proved our worth,” Kakoli added.

“We made ‘Daughters of Clay’ about the battle of the three ‘daughters’ in the hub of clay modellers. Around 4,000 Durga idols are made every year, but women’s contribution is still very little,” U K Chandra said on behalf of the producers of the documentary.




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