Dressed in a simple salwar kameez, with her red dupatta covering her head, shy and timid, Munzeera Shaikh, walks into the room, where she sits on the sofa to exhibit some of her work.
It ranges from bags, hand towels, wine bottle holders and of course her prized creation – the bags made with upcycled pet food bags.
“The pet food bags are very sturdy and strong, so I decided that they can be upcycled into bags which can be used to carry items like fish and meats, yet look trendy,” she shares.
“The lining of the bag is made using a pet food bag, and for the exterior, I’ve made a cover with old cloth. This way, the item doesn’t look shabby,” says Munzeera, with a twinkle in her eyes, as she displays some of her work, made from old clothes, bedsheets and random cloth pieces.
The other creative product she is displaying at the exhibition – to be held at the Museum of Christian Art (MoCA) on December 18 and 19, 2023 – is a ‘sleeve’ that one can use when riding, which will protect one's arms from getting a tan.
BITTEN BY THE SEWING BUG
“As a child, I grew up watching my grandmother engage in intricate gold embroidery used in Zardozi. My mother, on the other hand, stitched clothes to support the family, and I used to help her with the sewing when I was young," says she.
"So, I picked up the art of working with textiles from the women in my life -- my mother and grandmother,” she continues.
Munzeera was an integral part of the team that undertook work on the 18th-19th century textile installation at MoCA, and she was recently felicitated for her role in the project.
The museum had been on the lookout for a seamstress, who knew textiles well and could handle them with utmost care and caution, and she fit the bill perfectly.
The curator of MoCA, Natasha Fernandes, says, “Munzeera understands textiles and handles delicate material well. We (MoCA) needed someone who could help to meticulously install the 18th century textiles, someone who could collaborate with professional conservators.”
“Munzeera did an excellent job of understanding the needs of the rest of the team -- which included curators and conservationists -- and putting their ideas to work when installing the textiles at MoCA,” added Natasha.
Says Munzeera, “This gave me the confidence and empowerment that I needed. My children are very talented, too. My daughter has made a few Lippan mirror artworks, which will also be showcased at the exhibition. I am also saving up for my son’s engineering education.”
The exhibition will be held at the Museum of Christian Art, Old Goa, on December 18 and 19, 2023 (4 pm to 8.30 pm).