Taking you back in time to the arcadian settings of Sirohi, Haryana in rural Northern India, Skilled Samaritan takes you through a journey of spreading thoughts and ideas via art.
Steeped in history and age-old traditions, Sirohi is a North Indian village surrounded by magnificent scenery.
It has a hidden charm that Skilled Samaritan put on the map 2 years ago when it lit the village with solar lights.
Today, we are working with their community to transform Sirohi into an ‘Arts Village’ with co-participation from professional artists and designers from across the globe.
Project: Street Art as an agency for change
Skilled Samaritan wanted to use the power of colors and shapes to illustrate the cultural climate and political commentary of Sirohi’s life so far.
We aim to use art as a form to communicate messages in the village’s public arena that are accessible to all, to act as an instrument for advocacy and address the issue of Child Marriage. To work on this project, we invited artists, students and professionals to help us devise a theme and paint Sirohi with the hues of empowerment.
In addition, we do believe that if people see freshly painted and aesthetically pleasing walls, we can overcome a common issue faced by public spaces in India – Urinating and spitting. We hope that people will think twice before urinating or spitting on walls that are not just pleasing but convey a powerful message.
We didn’t select to address the issue of child marriage randomly but because it was such a significant issue in their comminities.
Pulled out of school at the age of 8 because her father was afraid she would get bullied/raped by young males inside and outside the classroom
Married at the age of 14, where we saw her cry and beg her father like the little girl that she was, to not get her married.
Pregnant at the age of 15 with her first born, where her husband and his family refused to take her to a private hospital because they did not want to foot the bill.
Abandoned at the government hospital, where her father rescued her and her baby and brought them back home to Sirohi.
The narrative of the picturesque village of Sirohi and the stories of some of its residents is saddeningly contradictory. We have witnessed the child marriages of some of these young girls, and have stood there with our hands tied. However, we do have our voices and mediums of expression that no one can refute. These are the weapons we use to bring about change, for the better.
A Brighter Future, a Better World
With such small efforts, as simple as painting a wall, we have been able to create awareness about social ills like child marriage and what makes these issues detrimental to not just those girls, but to society. Taking these steps towards empowerment, we can proudly say that back home in Muzaffarnagar, which is famously known for its high crime rate, we have brought about change. Change for the better- not just via thoughts and ideas but transforming them into actions. As compared to our situation in 2018 when only one woman agreed to work with us, we now have a stronghold of more than 150 women artisans working with us to create an equal world for all.