The textile industry has played a major role in promoting the livelihoods of women in the country.
As a tribute to all the women who have been preserving the art of weaving, an exhibition called “Hingtham: Weaving from the Heart, A Capsule Collection”, was launched yesterday by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck and Her Royal Highness Princess Eeuphelma Choden Wangchuck.
The exhibition showcases products made from local textiles such as throws, rugs, cushion covers, futon mats, and shawls. Raw materials to make natural dye and fibres, and looms are also on display.
Karma Tshoki, designer and proprietor of Yarn and Yartha Bhutan, said that the exhibition was a platform to create brand awareness of the Bhutanese textile.
“There is a market for Bhutanese textile in the international market but we need to have quality checks and balances of our products,” she said.
The collection aims to inspire a new generation of designers to see the potential in using resources found around to bridge to the ancestors’ lifestyles and cultural backgrounds to help keep them alive.
The exhibition showcases work of designers, textile companies and civil society organisations, representing over 200 artisans within Bhutan.
Chandrika Tamang, the designer of CDK Gyencha, said that women got opportunities to earn and showcase their talents with the exhibition.
More than 80 percent of those involved in the project were women, she said. “The project helped women ensure their livelihood during the pandemic when there was no market.”
The exhibition is part of the EU Bhutan Trade Support Project funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Trade Centre.
It is organised by the Royal Textile Academy and the Agency for Promotion of Indigenous Crafts (APIC).
APIC’s chief executive officer, Lam Kezang Chhoephel, said: “The project provides trade capacity building and technical assistance with a resilient focus on training and skills credible activities.”
As part of the exit strategy, Lam Kezang Chhoephel said that 22 direct beneficiaries are working together towards establishing a cooperative association called Bhutan Textile Cooperative under the Department of Agriculture and Marketing Cooperative.
The exhibition is the third output of the three-year project worth Euro 4 million.