Gujarati Artisans Spice Up #AKAM Celebration at Mangalore Intl Airport

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Gujarati Artisans Spice Up #AKAM Celebration at Mangalore Intl Airport

Mangaluru: With India’s 75th Independence Day less than a week away, Mangaluru International Airport is gearing to observe this #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav (AKAM) in a unique way. The airport in tandem with Craftroots, an organization that works to empower artisans, has organized a 10-day passenger engagement activity that also straddles another important festival in between – Rakhi. This will go up to 16th August.

The activity revolves around traditional Gujarati folk art – Ajrakh hand block print and Rogan art. Artisans Mahmadsoyab Abdul Karim Khatri from Ajrakhpur and Mahammadjabbar Arab Khatri from Nirona, both in the Bhuj district of Gujarat are giving live demonstrations of block printing and Rogan art. They are the seventh and eighth generation of artisans respectively preserving this art form.

A common thread binding the two art forms are that they use natural dye and organic pigments to give the work a distinct identity. Ajrakh block print revolves around four traditional blocks including Haso Bazaar and Haso Makaro that are used to make up the border. A combination of any of the 29 other blocks helps the artisan complete the work using white, black, red, and blue as the base colours.

Rogan art on the other hand uses a paste made from boiled castor as the base and six basic pigment colours to go with it. Two or more pigment colours are mixed to come up with a non-basic pigment colour. Rogan art comes alive on wool, cotton, tasar, and khadi silk fabrics and is known for the trademark ‘Tree of Life’ design ‘. The artisans avoid synthetic fabric mainly due to its lack of thickness.

Given the complexity of the art forms, the end products fetch a decent price in the market, avers Mahammadjabbar Arab Khatri. With a history of more than 700 years, Ajrakhpur hand block print is now flourishing due to the likes of Mahmadsoyab Abdul Karim Khatri and his family. One can watch these artists live at the ‘hastakala’ platform in the domestic security hold area on the ground floor.


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