At this stage I have decided to using weaving, especially with cotton, to make visual images of women. The reason being is that, because of the British Empire and colonial rule over India (late 18th and early 19th century), the cotton industry of India declined and was considerably damaged by the rules imposed by the British. Especially by the British East India Company. Plus when South Asians moved to Britain, especially in the North of England, a lot of them worked in poor working conditions in the cotton-mills. Telling (South Asian woman’s) stories through weaving cotton is a small way of reclaiming cotton. So I started to weave.
I wanted the colors to be vibrant and typical of Indian cloth of the North. Also I wanted the color of her skin to be dark brown. Typically a lot of images of Indian women and those promoted in Bollywood are fair skinned. Fair skinned is superficially associated with beauty. I wanted to purposefully avoid this unintelligent notion of beauty and so my image of women will be various shades of brown.
Susheel Kaur is Banda Singh Bahadur’s wife. Many Sikhs have heard of Banda Singh Bahadur, but not many have heard about his wife. I have attempted to draw her. She also was courageous and brave, despite knowing that her husband and son was being tortured and killed. You can find her story at:
http://www.sikhlionz.com/Bibi-Susheel-Kaur-The Embodiment-Of-Sikhi.htm and in ‘The Sikh Directory’ (2010).