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Private screening of THREADS held at Chhayanaut
The second private screening of the Bangla version of Canadian filmmaker Cathy Stevulak’s award-winning documentary on the ancient indigenous art of Nakshi Kantha, THREADS, was held at Chhayanaut in the capital on Friday.
The screening at Chhayanaut was presented by Spreeha Bangladesh Foundation, a non-profit organisation whose goals are aligned with that of THREADS.
THREADS Director Cathy Stevulak, Producer Leonard Hill, Sofia Alim, daughter of the documentary's main subject Surayia Rahman, members of Spreeha and Music Director Tanveer Alam Shawjeeb were present during the screening.
"Surayia Rahman is an inspiration for all," Leonard Hill said while addressing the audience, "the documentary will shed light about her noble cause even more."
Director Cathy Stevulak echoed similar sentiments, adding that "Surayia was an inspiration for the women who later went on to be apprentices under her tutelage and became artisans, many of whom are present today."
She also presented a piece of glass ceramic to the artisans, which was prepared by students of a school in Washington who participated in a glass art programme and were inspired after watching THREADS.
Rashida, an artisan who has been with Surayia since 1982, acknowledged her mentor's contribution to their empowerment. "Although business is slow now, I am sure this documentary will motivate others to take up Nakshi Kantha stitching.
After the screening concluded, a lively question-answer session followed, where a question was raised regarding the potential of Nakshi Kantha as a mean of generating income. Sufia, one of the artisans, replied by saying that taking it up not only helped her in becoming financially self-sufficient, but enough to raise three children till the end of their graduation.
The dedication of the artisans was praised by Sister Elizabeth, of the Salesian Sisters and current torchbearer of Surayia Rahman's legacy. "Now it is like an addiction," she remarked, "if they do not knit, they feel bored."
"Surayia Rahman's legacy is that of inspiring millions of women to believe in themselves,' said Tazin Shadid, CEO of Spreeha, "her legacy also acts as a tool of inspiration for budding entrepreneurs."
"The documentary was overwhelming," said Hasnine Mahmud, a post-graduation student of Economics at Dhaka University, "Cathy Stevulak has immsersed her lens deeply into the local context, making it seem as if the story was told by a Bangladeshi, rather than an outsider. Our artists need to be promoted."
Rabiul Bashar Lisan, another student of Economics at DU, shared similar sentiments. "Surayia Rahman's contributions are beyond any measuring stick. To come so far with such a success rate is phenomenal."
"I am touched by the reaction from today's audience,' said Sofia Alim, daughter of Surayia Rahman, "today it was delivered to the right crowd, ensuring that a positive change will be brought to the future entrepreneurs. This documentary cannot be more inspirational in that regard."
A public screening of the documentary is set to be held at the National Museum in the city on February 12.
THREADS is an intimate portrait of 85-year old Bengali artist, Surayia Rahman, who transforms the quilt-work tradition of kantha to create possibilities for a better life for her family and hundreds of destitute mothers in Bangladesh.
Over three decades, as their art becomes prized possessions of connoisseurs around the world, Surayia Rahman and the artisans overcome their hardships with needle and thread, stitch by stitch.
THREADS takes us on a journey into the heart of an artist and illuminates an unconventional path to dignity and independence.
Cosmos Foundation Chairman Enayetullah Khan is the Executive Producer of the Bengali version of the documentary. The documentary is supported by Cosmos Foundation.
The original version of THREADS has won three international awards-- Female Eye Film Festival, Toronto; Friday Harbor Film Festival and Audience Choice—as the best short documentary.
Catherine Masud was the co-producer of the documentary while late Mishuk Munier was the cinematographer.