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Women’s Art Rituals & Kantha Quilt Workshop

In conjunction with the exhibit, International Madonna Print Exchange by Ochosi Editions, local artist Sudeshna Sengupta will present a lecture on Women’s Art Rituals in Southeast Asia on Saturday, June 7 at noon. The program is free and open to the public.

Sudeshna Sengupta, MFA, will focus primarily on traditions of Kantha quilt-making with recycled fabrics and the art of Alpana-making, a form of ephemeral Mandalas painted on the ground on special occasions. Both of these art forms are practiced primarily by women in Bengal, a region comprising present-day Bangladesh and parts of eastern India. This presentation aims to bring you the sights and sounds of the stories told by women through these forms of collective art-making. Examples of real Kanthas will be on display for you to feel their amazing tactile beauty.

The following Saturday, June 14, at noon, Sengupta will present a multigenerational workshop on Kantha quilt-making, providing an opportunity to put the information from the lecture into practice, making your own Kantha. The workshop Kantha Quilts of Bengal: Story-telling through Recycled Fabrics is open to ages 9 and up.

Kantha, a type of embroidered quilt, is a centuries-old women’s art tradition in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. Made from worn-out Saris, imaginatively embroidered by women with motifs and tales drawn from a rich regional repertoire, Kanthas were traditionally stitched as gifts for births, weddings, and other family occasions. It is an indigenous household craft through which rural women often narrated and interpreted the world around them.

All supplies, including fabric, will be provided for making small Kantha quilts in the tradition of this women’s art from South Asia. However, participants are encouraged to bring clean, used pieces of lightweight cotton t-shirts, scarves, or any other pieces of cotton fabric they would like to recycle. The pieces can be of any colors or patterns. Bringing your own cloth will help make this a memorable and personal experience. Finished pieces can be made into fabric trivets or pot holders.

Sudeshna Sengupta holds a Masters of Fine Arts from Visva-Bharati University. After teaching in New Delhi, Seattle, and California, she taught for eight years at New Mexico State University in Alamogordo where she established its first intaglio printmaking studio. Besides pursuing studio art, she continues to teach and present lectures, workshops, and community-based art events for various age groups with civic, cultural, and community organizations in the US and in India, often with a focus on multicultural experiences that emphasize human, cultural and environmental connectedness through creativity. Sengupta is the recipient of numerous national and international awards and has shown her art in solo and group shows in Las Cruces as well as throughout the US and internationally.

The Branigan Cultural Center is located at 501 North Main Street. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 4:30pm. For more information, contact the Branigan Cultural Center at (575) 541-2154 or visit the Center’s website at

Workshop participants making a mandala.
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