Live Gujarati Folk Art Forms at City Airport

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Ajrak print and Rogan art are on display for the benefit of passengers

Ajrak print and Rogan art are on display for the benefit of passengers

Getting ready to celebrate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav in a unique way, Mangaluru International Airport organized a 10-day passenger engagement activity in association with Craftroots, an organization working for the empowerment of artisans.

Launched on Sunday, the activity also takes place between another festival, Raksha Bandhan, and continues until August 16, said a statement from the airport. These are traditional Gujarati folk art, Ajrakh hand print and Rogan art.

Artisans Mahmad Soyab Abdul Karim Khatri from Ajrakhpur and Mahammad Jabbar Arab Khatri from Nirona, both in Bhuj district of Gujarat, give a live demonstration of block printing and Rogan art. It is respectively the seventh and eighth generations of craftsmen who preserve this form of art.

A common thread connecting the two art forms is that they use natural dyes and organic pigments to give the work a distinct identity.

Ajrakh block printing involves four traditional blocks including Haso Bazaar and Haso Makaro which are used to form the border. A combination of any of the other 29 blocks helps the craftsman complete the job using white, black, red, and blue as base colors.

On the other hand, Rogan art uses boiled castor oil paste as the base and six base pigment colors to go with it. Two or more pigment colors are mixed to obtain a non-basic pigment color. Rogan’s art comes to life on wool, cotton, tasar, khadi and silk fabrics and is known for the trademark design, “Tree of Life”. Craftsmen avoid synthetic fabric mainly because of its lack of thickness.

Given the complexity of the art forms, the end products fetch a decent price in the market, according to one of the artisans.

With a history of over 700 years, Ajrakhpur’s hand printing is now thriving thanks to people like Mahmad Soyab Abdul Karim Khatri and his family. These craftsmen can be watched living on the Hastakala platform in the inner security area on the ground floor of the airport, the statement added.

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