Meet China Pal, one of the first women idolmaker in the city
THERE ARE ONLYA HANDFUL OF WOMEN CLAY IDOLMAKERS IN KOLKATA. CHINA PAL, 43, WAS ONE OF THE FIRST WOMEN TO ENTER THE PROFESSION 20 YEARS AGO. NOW, ORDERS HAVE DOUBLED, BUT NOT DRAMATICALLY, BECAUSE CHINA STILL PREFERS TO WORK SOLO. THESE PHOTOGRAPHS SHOW HER WORKING IN HER STUDIO AS DURGA PUJA DRAWS NEAR
“A lot of puja pandals ask for advance deliveries and I use the fire to dry the idols faster,” says China.
Photographs by SUBIR HALDER
China makes “akchali pratima”. Or the kinds of idols where Durga and her four children and the asura are bound by one background.
China carrying the head of Durga to mount it on an idol. “It’s the blessings of Durga herself that sees me through,” she says.