For those of you in the United Kingdom, the BBC has just broadcast (and enabled for on-line viewing until March 18th) an hour-long feature on the textiles of the Kutch Desert in Gujarat, India. Hosted by Griff Rhys Jones, it is very well done, beautifully filmed, and has many of recognizable names from our podcasts.
There is a short interview with John Gillow, a good section on Ajrakh cloth featuring Razzaque and Ismail Khatri, and the whole episode has as consultants Eiluned Edwards and Rosemary Crill.
Here is the official BBC description of the program:
"In his quest to find out if traditional art still thrives among the indigenous people of the world, Griff Rhys Jones goes to India in search of exquisite textiles. Can he solve the mystery of an extraordinary Indian floor cloth kept in Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire for over 300 years? Who made it and does the skill that produced such a work still exist?
"Griff travels to Gujarat in India, famed throughout history for its beautiful handmade textiles. He goes off the beaten tracks to the towns and villages of the north-west plains and discovers how centuries-old printing, dyeing and embroidery techniques are still the cornerstones to a way of life.
"Finally, he travels to the heart of one of the most reclusive and fiercely traditional societies in India, the Rabari, who are famed for their toughness and their astonishing embroidery. Here, women spend years sewing dowry gifts - but can the custom survive in the 21st century?
Broadcast on: BBC Two, 10:00PM Sun, 13 Mar 2011
Available until: 9:59PM Fri, 18 Mar 2011
First broadcast: BBC HD, 9:00PM Fri, 11 Mar 2011
Duration: 60 minutes
[Update: The program has now expired from the online viewing. Previously we suggested that Canadians could view it through the use of a web proxy service such as UK Web Proxy. It seems, however, that this may violate copyright law due to restrictions on some BBC content and the issue of the UK television license. We don't recommend that you break copyright law! Thanks to E for the note.
We'd love to see a legitimate solution such as this content being licensed through iTunes or some other international delivery platform. - Editor.]