Ajrakh block printing, a phrase that strikes a thrill in every textile lover’s heart! The word Ajrakh has many meanings and derivations, including derived from the word for ‘blue’ or ‘indigo’ in Arabic, and the phrase ‘aj-rakh’, or ‘keep it today’. This form of block printing is a complex, multistep process that traditionally involves natural, environment-friendly dyes. Josephine Nirmala of Sanskara Designs, and the folks at The Far East Art Studio have organized an exhibition by a National Award-winning Ajrakh artist from Kutch, Abdulrauf Khatri at The Nehru Center, the cultural wing of the High Commission of India in London.

Ajrakh Block Printing/Collectivitea

Ajrakh is an extremely complex and time consuming process of hand block printing using natural indigo and other natural dyes on cotton and silk textiles.  Shri Abdul Rauf Khatri was born in Dhamadka , Kachch and trained in Ajrakh under his father Shri Abdul Razak Mohammad Bhai Siddik Bhai Khatri a renowned National Award winner of 1998. The Bhuj earthquake of 2001 completely destroyed the village of Dhamadka thereby forcing the Khatris to relocate to a place which was then called Ajrakhpur after the craft itself. Today the very traditional Ajrakh hand block printing faces a tough competition from other modern, quicker methods of printing using bright chemical dyes. Showcasing this traditional environment friendly ancient craft of Ajrakh to an international audience would a great encouragement and support to young artists like Shri Abdul Rauf Khatri to continue to practice traditional textile techniques which are India’s pride. He won the National award in 2009.” Here are the details and link to the Facebook page of the event.

Ajrakh Block Printing/Collectivitea Ajrakh Block Printing/Collectivitea Ajrakh Block Printing/Collectivitea

The organizers hope to establish a tradition of showcasing many other artists to their London audience. Do I want to go? You bet!! If you are in London the weekend of March 14th, please stop by, and let yourself be pulled in by this amazing tradition, and see a master artist at work! You will fall in love with this art form, and it needs your support for its continued growth. – Priya

All images are courtesy of Sanskara Designs.


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