Imprints of Culture: Block Printed Textiles of India

by - Friday, March 25, 2016

Abduljabbar Khatri in the Bonington Gallery, Nottingham, UK.
This month, Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, UK, was at the centre of the block printing world. Three events kept us focused.

The first was an exhibition in the Bonington Gallery featuring block printing history and sites of contemporary practice. The exhibition, titled Imprints of Culture: Block Printed Textiles of India, included historic pieces, items of traditional dress, video footage of process and a compelling series of stills documenting the individuals who keep this time-consuming craft alive. We arrived in the last days of the show and were able to photograph Abduljabbar Khatri next to a print design based on cloth fragments recovered from Fustat, Egypt. In the background is one of Abduljabbar's masterworks, a double sided ajrakh cloth with a complex centre motif. In 2007 Abduljabbar's two brothers, Ismail and Razzaque, presented lectures and workshops at the Maiwa Textile Symposium. In January, curator Eiluned Edwards was interviewed by Aesthetica Magazine about her experience putting together the exhibit.

The second was the release of Eiluned Edwards new book, titled Block Printed Textiles of India: Imprints of Culture. We are just in the process of adding it to the Maiwa online store and will post a review when it arrives (but we've had a brief look at it, here in Nottingham and are very impressed!).

The third was a program put together by Eiluned titled "Culture, Heritage and Sustainability." It was a one day seminar held in Nottingham Trent University exploring the ways in which cultural heritage is managed and sustained in different contexts—with a strong emphasis on India. Participants included Sandy Black, (author of The Sustainable Fashion Handbook), Charllotte Kwon (of Maiwa), Abduljabbar Khatri and Eiluned Edwards, Divia Patel (co-curator with Rosemary Crill of the Fabric of India Exhibition), Ritu Sethi (of the Craft Revival Trust), Ruth Clifford (graduate student looking at design education for traditional artisans) and Jatin Bhatt (of Ambedkar University, Delhi) who looked at the craft sector from a systems standpoint.

It was an engaging day and concluded a number of smaller events including a hands-on block printing workshops delivered by Abduljabbar Khatri.

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