The festival of Banner Making

Date: 16th November, 2018.

We were all enthusiastically waiting for November 16th as this time the workshop was not planned but it was an activity to make a banner in the basti by the community members. For the same the art team at Swatantra was rigorously working on and preparing a Banner on ‘SUNO SUNO.’which would be a demo banner.Banner would be hand woven Hindi words ‘SUNO SUNO.’ Art team crafted a banner and a stencil was made on the steps that could be explained to participants for the workshop to be conducted effectively.

As decided the team reached to basti by 10.30 am, a door to door calling was done, such a different calling was done, a milder approach was chosen because the aim was to invite them to participate as doers (performers) and not as spectators. The time chosen for the workshop also helped the workshop in affirmative way because the major target for this time was women and not children. Choosing such a time meant school going children would not be at home and women would have been done with their daily chores.

Materials of four banners were taken to basti by the team and as the people gathered, two teams simultaneously were stitching. Initially it seemed like  a task that community members would not be interested in but what a pleasant surprise it turned out to be as women like who did the stitching so quickly and so neatly that in no time we had made a banner. One more thing which was amazing was how quick learners they were!

At around 12-30 pm, we started our second workshop at the temple side.  The place shaded by two huge trees was perfect for things to go underway.  Here two teams were made who were simultaneously working on two different banners. Both groups this time were not only stitching but it was like everyone around had a feeling of oneness, a feeling a of joy, it was as if they were not sewing the banner but sewing the happiness of togetherness. A girl from previous workshop joined us at the temple side too and along with swatantra, she was guiding people too. That young adolescent girl was already a leader by now. Her involvement got out some more artistic input and produced a SUNO SUNO banner which was not just a banner  more of a spectacle. The other group had different members. They too were enjoying the workshop, by this time it did not remain as a workshop but it had started to flow like a festival. the workshop was transformed into theatre. The whole atmosphere was so creative that a spontaneous song was also made by the swatantra team. The song made did not only include project and the workshop name but also names of the girls who were involved in the workshop. Those smirks and smiles on inclusion of their names in the song was a sense of total joy.  Everybody sung along and even tried at composing lines spontaneously.

It was late in the afternoon that we went to canal side area for our final leg of banner making workshop. Again some calling was done and on the main road under a tree on an elevated land started our third workshop. This too went very smooth. In no time people gathered had divided the work amongst themselves and there was one woman who was doing the markers while other ladies were joining the threads to make pompoms. But by this time it was already post 4 pm so the materials of the last banner were given to them which they promised that they would do at home.

Now we had three(One made by us-the demo banner and 2 others which were completed  were tied in the basti. two other banners which were partially made by the people, and because they had to go for some other work said that they will make it whenever they will get time in next 2-3 days )   The banners had colors, pompoms and artistically sewed SUNO SUNO on it. But along with it, the banners had sweet smell of the time spent on creativity, smiles, and togetherness .It was an activity which  could involve many enthusiastic, spontaneous, dynamic and creative groups of adolescent girls and women who we did not reach out previously. It was only their enthusiasm and energy which was responsible for transforming a simple workshop into a theatre of ‘SUNO SUNO’.

Dhanashree, Abhijeet, Krushan,

Director/Creative Director/Writer-Performer


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