The Ubinig centre at Tangail is home to the rice gene bank, where 3000 varieties of rice are sorted, placed in ceramic pots sealed with mud, numbered and carefully catalogued and stored to ensure the genes will survive and cann be distributed to the farmers each year. Language barriers mean I am still not fully understanding the processes and methods but from my experience and visual understanding I know this is a time consuming process. Throughout my visits I have seen the rice seeds at various stages of sorting and packing and this time the rice pots were neatly placed in rows in numerical order, and my Ubinig friends were busy transferring them to their correct place in the gene bank.
I am struck at the love, commitment and time that goes into this process. The seeds are precious and are handled with extreme care to ensure all the genes will continue to survive. It reminded me of a conversation about gold, and how gold is the most precious possession a woman can have here. I heard no matter how poor a woman would hold on to her gold jewellery as her most precious possession, a sign of strength and beauty. My initial idea when I saw the line of pots was to get my jori (gold thread used for weaving the borders of saris) and to weave in and out of the pots. Understandably my friends were focused on storing the pots and not on artistic interventions and I was quickly shown a number of empty pots in the corner I could play with! I just used a few for an initial sketch idea. I still think trying to get all the pots together and weaving gold threads in and out of them would be beautiful. A textile way of cataloguing and sorting, as you do when you make a warp and separate each thread.
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