Gujarati Ajrakh craftsman showcases fine-printed textiles in Delhi

New Delhi, Feb 24 : Delhi's textile lovers can now head to an exhibition-sale of the unique textile craft of Ajrakh, showcased as saris and stoles by UNESCO-recognised master craftsperson Abdul Jabbar Khatri.

Ajrakh, a resist dyeing block printing technique, has been part of the Indian culture since centuries, says Khatri, a ninth generation member of Gujarat's traditional textile-making family, and a key player in transforming Ajrakh as a fashion fabric for global urban markets.

Saris, stoles and yardage, crafted by him in cotton and silk in natural dyes, are on display at the Dastkari Haat Studio here.

The exhibition has been organised by non-profit Dastkari Haat Samiti and can be viewed till March 9.

The exhibition features Khatri's contemporary yet traditional textiles in earthy hues and intricate patterns, ranging from rich floral to complex geometric combinations, reflecting what the painstakingly-done Ajrakh printing is famous for.

Dastkari Haat's 76-year-old president Jaya Jaitly recalled seeing Jabbar at work as a teenager.

"That time, his father used to say he is not working properly. Now he has grown into a true master craftsman. His other brothers specialise in fine Ajrakh printing, block and natural dye-making. Jabbar is now designing much finer and smaller blocks. He wants to design on his own too," Jaitly, a former Samata party leader, told IANS.

Terming Jabbar a committed guardian of India's craft heritage, Jaitly said the exhibit-sale invites craft connoisseurs to see and own Khatri's masterpieces.

A platform to bring the consumer closer to Indian craft, it is also an opportunity for the 2003 National Craft Award recipient to display his work and "show what all can be done with the Indian textiles and traditional techniques", the master craftsman said.

Khatri has been awarded the prestigious UNESCO Seal of Excellence both in 2006 and 2007, and he now helms a large block printing enterprise, which generates income for several hundred women in Dhamadka, his village in Gujarat.



Source: IANS