Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Women's Work

India sketch journal 2013 page 37 by Meera Rao 

I read just yesterday in the Indian newspaper  The Hindu: "On her arrival in India recently, the words of Gloria Steinem, American feminist and leader of the women’s liberation movement, sounded like bells tolling for all women in today’s modern Indian society. “I came [to India] and what was here a half-a-century ago is still here… and yet there is everything else.”   So true! India has come a long way yet there still a long way to go. 

I am always amazed how the old and new live side by side and these sketches give a glimpse of the hard work the women continue to do. But I also see a new confidence in the women too. I sense it the the neat, beautiful ways most dress in the colorful sarees, salwars, or pants and t-shirts, with fresh fragrant flowers in the hair and the purposeful strides. They do what they have to do and more often than not with a big smile too! I see that their lives are never easy but they go on day after and day.

India sketch Journal 2013 Aug 19 by Meera Rao

As this sketch shows, a woman's work is never done! - I saw this lady often on her way home at dusk - I am sure after a full day's work - carrying a load on her head and a bag on her shoulders. 

India Sketch Journal 2013 Aug 18 by Meera Rao

She was at the corner of the street almost every day doing the ironing for whoever dropped off a load of bundled clothes. She used hot coals in a heavy iron to press the clothes. She was very pleased when I stopped to chat with her and take her photograph. At the end of my stay I usually make it a point to make  copies of the photographs for most of them or show my sketches. Their reaction is always so rewarding! 

It is charming to see the old ways but I do hope we will soon see the status and lives of the women improve not just in India but all around globe. 

15 comments:

padmaja said...

Yes,the status is improving and I have seen women from small villages much more stronger mentally than those that live in cities.They are fearless and tackle issues head on. Nice sketches, good to hear that these women got to see themselves through your eyes!

Meera Rao said...

Thank you Padmaja :) both these ladies were a challenge to paint !

Katherine Thomas said...

I love how you point out the contrast between the old ways and the new, existing side by side. That's beautiful. Your paintings convey the pride and tradition of these people as they go about their daily routines. I'm wondering something, though... when you say "Womens Work" I bring to mind several images... but when I consider the phrase "Mens Work"... hmmm, not so many tasks seem specific to that gender... :)

Meera Rao said...


Liz HillYesterday 8:58 PM

Thank you for your kind comments on my work. I like the immediacy of yours, feel like I am there. Liz Hill


You are welome and Thank you Liz :) [ I goofed and deleted your comment here but it was saved in my mail :) ]

Meera Rao said...

Katherine, thanks! Woman's work I think starts the minute she is awake and goes on till she hits the pillow, no? Some of it she gets paid ( not on par with man) for doing and mostly she is just expected to do and often only noticed when it's not done - sad but true the world over!

helen said...

Lovely work and a happy day to you too!

Irina Rekhviashvili said...

Very important subject and great sketches.
Thank you for the encouragement, I am nervous to sketch people too. In art class it was another type of nerves: I was among TRUE, YOUNG artists and the model was NAKED. Oh, what a stress))))

Haddock said...

There are very few who make it a point to make a copy of the photographs and give it to the subject. Their expressions are worth watching and worth the trouble.

Krishna/കൃഷ്ണ said...

nice photos...

thanks

Meera Rao said...

Thanks Helen :)

Meera Rao said...

Irina, thank you! I guess we have just keep on sketching there seems to be no other way around uneasiness of sketching in public ;)

Meera Rao said...

Thank you, @haddock :) I really appreciate your encouragement !

Meera Rao said...

Krishna, thanks for stopping by ;)

Sue Clinker said...

Hi Meera thanks for commenting on my Blogs (particularly the one about our mini-tour of India)

I'm enjoying your pictures and comments on Indian life and pleased that in our brief visit we came to many of the same conclusions that you make here. Such a fascinating country - we loved it!

Meera Rao said...

Sue, thank you! I am glad visiting blog confirmed your impressions too! That's the thing about sketching, I noticed my perspective is different and I see everything with new eyes :)

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