Bangladesh to Brooklyn, a Clothing Exchange Inspires Climate Action

by Nandita Ahmed

When the saris return from the Bangladeshi village of Katakhali to the United States, they are well worn: They smell of smoke, from time their owners spent cooking over open fires, and small burns dot their fronts. Mud from unpaved streets stains the hems. And the soft cotton has become more so—thinner, more fragile.

Bangladeshi-American multimedia artist, painter, and lawyer Monica Jahan Bosebrought these saris to her ancestral village on the island of Barobaishdia in the Bay of Bengal six years ago. Bose gave the colorful garments to a dozen women she’d been speaking to over the phone for months. The women had just learned to read and write, and to honor those achievements, the artist gave them custom-made wooden blocks in the shape of Bengali words to use as stamps, as well as paint and other materials. The plan: The women would decorate their saris with the stories of their lives. To read the full story.