Khalid Khatri resides in the village of Ajrakhpur, about 15 km from Bhuj in Gujarat. At 27, he is a recognised talent and nonconformist in the respected Khatri community – which is best known for its indigo-and-madder block printed cloth, Ajrakh. Khalid infuses asymmetry into block printing — an art form that is traditionally and fundamentally symmetric. This decision might appear simple, but coupled with his approach it is enough for those in his village to affectionately call him ‘the crazy one’. Khalid was not interested in the boring lessons of school, so after seventh grade, he went to Mumbai to work as a salesman. But the work was hard and the salary was low, so he returned to Kutch and began working with his uncle in their traditional block printing. Observing and seeking guidance, within three years, he understood most aspects of Block Printing. A good artisan, in Khalid’s view, should know everything, from making blocks to creating designs. He says he is an average artisan now but is confident that he will learn. The main challenge he faces is lack of facilities due to economic constraints. Today, Khalid and his father have their own workshop and mostly do job work. Khalid was about to start job work for an Ahmedabad client, but he wanted to learn something new. For Khalid, his work is everything. He knows that if you work for someone you will never progress, while in your own business- even with limited income- you will progress sooner or later. Even within the loss, something good is stored for the future for you, he says. Dr Haji Ismail suggested that he study at Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya. Khalid had never used a pencil or sketches, nor learned colour or design with depth before coming to KRV. He longs to go to Pakistan to see his relatives’ Ajrakh work. The future of block printing seems bright to Khalid. He thinks that if something new is introduced in block printing, the craft will be sustained. He is hopeful that he will make new blocks and design and produce the best quality, and that the prices will equal the quality. Khalid’s expectation from KRV is of course to learn, but he also desires contacts clients and orders through Kala Raksha. His dream is to work hard, grow his business and get large orders.
Ajrakh Printing, Block Printing, Mashru
Ajrakh is a unique combination of hand block printing & resist dyeing. The skillful manipulation of 2 kind of resist, or Dabu produces intricate multilayered designs on treated cotton cloth.
Cotton/silk, Natural colours on cloth, Cotton and Silk, Thread and Fabric, Fabric colours on silk, Silk and Cotton yarn, Textile & Natural Dyes