Thatta Kedona

Culture is a Basic Need

IMPRESSIONS OF DOLLS VILLAGE IN PUNJAB

Exhibition titles "Impressions of a Dolls Village in Punjab" of photographs by Renate Borowka from Germany, recorded in 1994, in the Village of Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka (Dolls Village) was held in Alhamra Arts Gallery, Lahore on Mar 10, 2017. Dr Mira Phailbus, former Principal Kinnaird College with her with colleague Nergis Sobani was the chief guest. The Exhibition was attended by large number of culture lovers.


Renate Borowka was born on 4th January 1933 in Insterbürg, East Prussia (Now in Russia). She is now living in Berlin in Germany, where she started to learn photography and completed the two years course at the school “Lette Verein”. During this period many of her photos - mostly modified and alienated through her specific and exceptional art of image processing - were shown at numerous exhibition in and around Berlin.


In 1994 she travelled to Pakistan and visited the Village “Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka”. Recalling that journey she now says:”Senta Siller invited me to a small village in Pakistan. It was for me like a fairytale; happy, loving and hospitable people. I could never imagine that after a period of twenty three years my photos will bring such a great pleasure to the fairytale-like village and naturally to me also.”


“Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka” is a small village in Okara District. It was in this village that an NGO with the name “Anjuman-e-Falah-e-Aama” (AFA) was established in 1992. A boost to this NGO was the involvement of two volunteers from Germany, Mrs Dr. Senta Siller and her husband Dr. Norbert Pintsch. These two academics first visited this village in 1990, when they were invited by their Pakistani student Mr. Amjad Ali, who was born in this village and was working with Deutsche Welle (The Voice Of Germany) after studying in Germany.


Dr. Senta Siller was astonished to see the beautiful embroidery, different types of rag dolls, the variety of colourful handicrafts and the stitching capabilities of the village girls and women. She was surprised to know that they were not able to earn any money from their skills. It was at this moment that she started to think about helping the girls and women of the village to earn some money through making dolls and different types of handmade toys. As she was an artist and designer by profession, she helped the village girls to improve the design, shape and colour of their products.


To promote the village as the Village of Dolls, Dr. Senta Siller established a development project called “Thatta Kedona”. She started a Women Art Centre (WAC) in the village and trained the girls in making the best ethnic Pakistani dolls. During those early years Dr. Siller stayed in the village for very long periods, sometimes the whole year. Even in the hot summer months she devoted her full time to teach the girls different skills and crafts. In total she stayed for about 5 years in this remote village of Punjab.


For her work in Pakistan, she has been awarded Bundesverdienstkreuz (highest civil order of merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) and many other honours from different countries for her services to uplift and empower the Pakistani women.


The exhibition was held in Lahore to honour these great German women, who have in their own ways and selflessly contributed so much to improve the situation of women in a remote village of the Punjab.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:11 AM,

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