Making of the Seedbands
Made from organic cotton’s handspun yarn
Plantable & Biodegradable
Embedded with Living Seeds
Handcrafted & Handmade
Recycled & Recyclable
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastatingly unequal impact on women. We are living in a ‘shadow’ pandemic above & beyond the one unleashed by Covid-19. It has made us lose livelihoods, reduced our access to healthcare, increased maternal deaths & unwanted pregnancies, and caused higher incidents of abuse & violence.
This collection of Seedbands is a medium to document these experiences, a canvas for the expressions it churned out, and a way to heal through our collective sharing.
This Land Is My Land
Until the 2005 Amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, a daughter or widow could not inherit ancestral land in India. Still, by 2015-16, only 11.7% agricultural holdings were owned by women. Many families remain deeply entrenched in patriarchal values, and women are forced to give up their rights in favour of male heirs.
We used these threads and seeds to map how our land would look if we had inherited it.
What crops would we grow?
What trees stand tall?
These Seedbands hold our aspirations, our childhood and the right we have been denied.
Shoot to Heal
In 2015-16, an estimated 99% of sexual violence went unreported in India. Women who are abused often stay silent because attackers are known to them, and a lot of social stigma is associated with coming forward. Incidents of abuse are often forcefully & deeply buried inside, requiring an equally forceful act to push them out & start the healing process.
So we created a safe space where we could find the strength to pull such incidents from inside us and put them on a canvas of the threads used in these bands. The canvas created a bullseye, which we shot at with air rifles as an act of catharsis – not to kill, but to heal.
These bands mark a step in the process of our healing.
In 2015-16, every third Indian woman over the age of 15 was a victim of some form of domestic violence. In April 2020, the National Commission of Women suggested an almost 100% increase in domestic violence cases during the lockdown across the country. Since it is taboo to talk about this, we held meetings to openly share our experiences. Objects that once held memories of this violence were then bundled inside a cloth & tied with threads used here to make tie & dye impressions.
These threads hold a terrible secret, but tied together with our solidarity, these Seedbands break this silence around violence.
75% of the world’s unpaid care and domestic work is done by women. Indian women spend almost 6 hours a day on unpaid work; men less than 1. This invisibilized work is the backbone of familial, societal & economic life. Because we are on the job from dawn to dusk, we don’t even have the luxury to enjoy a leisurely cup of tea.
To acknowledge our unpaid labour, we decided to make and enjoy our morning tea, and get paid for it. The chai was then strained through the cloth used in this band & the dried tea was sown into it as well.
These Seedbands are an assertion that we are free to work, not obligated to provide our labour for free.
Demands for ‘gifts’ and forced spending for wedding ceremonies are rampant from grooms’ families during marriage negotiations in India. This causes high financial pressure on the bride’s family, and is a form of dowry even though it isn’t defined as such.
So the married amongst us talked about our wedding expenses, and the unmarried about what we expected to spend. We then played a balancing game to see how difficult it would be to reach the larger spending. More the dowry, more the risk of falling and leaving footprints on the threads used in this band.
This Seedband is a testament to the fact that we’ve made a woman’s life a stake walk, when it should be a cake walk.
Research shows that male involvement during pregnancy and childbirth has a positive impact on the health & wellbeing of both mother and child.
In India however, men are often completely absent from this journey, and it is just accepted as a cultural truth.
So we formed groups where we could share our experiences of being pregnant, and talk about the expectations we have from our partners – before & after birth. We marked these conversations by knotting the threads used in these bands – to count just how lonely it has been.
These Seedbands mark the solidarities we are building through telling our stories.
Visual Design and Campaign Design Partners: AlagAngle Design Co. is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Central India. We aim to provide custom solutions to all design needs entailing visual, product, textile, film, spatial, sound and motion.
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In collaboration with: We are a Makers’ space equipped with machinery, tools, art accessories and a wide range of materials. While being a hub where experimenters prototype their designs, we also provide industrial design solutions.
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The processes involved in Seed Bands 2021 are supported by Khoj Studios as part of Peripheries & Crossovers – Art as Social Practice.
Concept Writing by:
Mukta Patil is a freelance journalist and editor working in India and the US. She writes about food and agriculture, climate change, and the environment.
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