Chitarkari - Slate carving 1993-2006
While working with the chitarkars ( slate engravers) I wanted to pick the hammer and chisel and work myself. My very first piece was a tombstone of a woman with flowing hair. It was a smaller replica of the stately uneven ancient tombstones.
Like in majority of Islamic folk art , in chitarkari also one finds absence of figurative art where humans are only represented by symbols. On the tombstones a woman is only represented by jewellery symbols, in a rare tombstone a woman has a sewing machine symbol .
Initially, I used to draw for the craftsmen who would carve out my designs, but I did not feel a sense of ownership and felt guilty that my work fetched ten times more than the craftsman. This is how the market works but I wanted to do the carving myself, it is hard, physical work and time consuming but at the end of the day it is my own.