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"To me, dragons symbolize the vigorous spirit of the Balinese people when facing adversity," confides Seji Taram. Expert in the depiction of dragons, Taram depicts twin dragons under the yin-yang symbol of duality. He carves the suar wood wall panel with exquisite detailed artistry. According to one of the many Balinese Hindu-Buddhist customs, the dragon represents the relationship between kings and priests, and effigies of the mystical creature are included for their cremation, for it is believed Naga will guide their soul so they may find their way to the next world.
Since the death of her husband, Seji has not only survived — she has managed to thrive. She has grown her workshop and is now able to offer work to other artisans in her community.
Seji learned to carve from her husband. Sadly, he passed away and she was left to support herself and two children. Before he died, her husband urged her to be strong and become her own woman. She has done so and has grown their workshop. She now gives work to other carvers, and two women hand-finish the sculptures.
Seji learned to carve from her late husband. Their workshop continues to produce his designs and also the ones Seji has developed. She teaches her assistants to carve and carefully instructs her finishers in how to refine each detail of the sculptures.
Novica sales provide Seji with a steady income that has enabled her to grow her workshop. She is able to not only support her son but to provide steady wages to her workers, enabling them to support themselves and their families.
The Women's Empowerment badge is awarded to female artisans or artisan groups that are led by women.
Seji Taram is a widow. Her daughter is grown, Seji is raising her young son alone.
Seji is determined to give her son the best possible education.