Porgai Artisans Association is a society of women artisans from the Lambadi community of Sittilingi Valley–a lush landscape in the interiors of Dharmapuri District, Tamil Nadu. Porgai meaning Pride in the Lambadi dialect was formed as a society in the year 2006 to revive the traditional hand-embroidery of the Lambadis and earn an independent livelihood for the women artisans. Dr Lalitha Regi and Dr Regi George took the initiative for helping local farmers and lambadi women with reviving traditional handicrafts. Soon, The Porgai Artisans society was formed.
When so many medicos in India choose to pay out their rural term, here is a couple that chose rural India over a more lucrative life in the city. When they had children, there were no schools in and around Sittlingi to send them to. For a year Lalitha and Regi homeschooled their children after which they managed admission at Rishi Valley, a boarding school run by the Krishnamurthi Foundation. Their choice of work has indeed demanded several sacrifices of Lalitha and Regi but in staying committed to their decision to provide medical care for the people of Sittlingi and the surrounding areas, they are offering a model that can and should be implemented by doctors with a conscience.
Throughout their journey, the artisans of Porgai have truly excelled in their craft and have attempted several projects of impressive artistic distinction. It was in the year 2020 that Anagha Unni, a filmmaker, captured the essence of Porgai and their unique place in carving a sustainable and fair model of creating livelihoods. The documentary film invites the viewer into the heart of Sittilingi Valley and what makes Porgai Artisans Association a crucial example in upholding fairness and equity.
The film screening at the Hall of Harmony, Nehru Centre will be accompanied by a photo series in the adjoining hall, featuring the daily lives, past glories and trickled-down oral tales popular within the Sittilingi Lambadi community that would offer a deeper view into the lives of the artisans. Adding to that, an enthralling range of exclusive products from Porgai, such as home furnishings, a variety of clothing like kurtas, skirts, blouses, dresses and some richly embroidered pieces will up for sale. The event will take place between 10.00 am and 7.00 pm on both days with three screenings (11.30 am, 3.00 pm and 6.00 pm) on each day. You are invited to experience the courage, grace and perseverance and witness the proficiency of many rural women and their efforts to advocate small as beautiful.
The event will be inaugurated by Ms. Brinda Miller, Fine Artist and Hon. Chairperson, Kala Ghoda Association.