Issue #002, Winter, 2019 ISSN: 2581- 94101 Introduction
This essay has been developed by Abduljabbar M. Khatri (“Jabbar”) and his son, Adam,who are hereditary block printers, in conversation with Eiluned Edwards. It focuses on ajrakh, the signature cloth of the Khatri block printers of Dhamadka village in Kachchh, and Jabbar and Adam reveal the social, economic and developmental changes that have affected both the family business and the craft across time. They identify the ways in which a craft with an ancient lineage has survived and is relevant in the digital age. In this respect, they offer a perspective that is rarely heard, or published, that of the artisan as an agent in determining his or her own destiny. It presents a vivid account of the challenges confronted by contemporary block printers and their own quest for viable solutions.
Jabbar has taken an active part in the British Academy By Design project, contributing to the research programme, running a 3-day printing and dyeing workshop for staff and students at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), participating in two symposia: the first held at NTU in March 2016; the second at the India International Centre in January 2017 where he was joined by his eldest son, Adam. Their work featured in the exhibition, Imprints of Culture: Block Printed Textiles of India, held at Bonington Gallery, NTU February-March 2016. They are collaborating with Eiluned on a book about ajrakh.2 Traditional ajrakh
Eiluned: As ajrakh is our focus, perhaps you could start by describing what it is and then talk about your family’s involvement with the craft.
AJMK: Ajrakh is a speciality of Kachchh district, Gujarat, Thar region, Rajasthan and Sindh Pakistan where it is made by the Khatris. We print th...
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