Artist Profiles

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Artist:

Abdulrauf Khatri

Region:

South and Central Asia

Country:

India

Media/General:

Textiles

Medium of Work:

Block print and natural dyed bedspreads, silk stoles and shawls

Year(s) Attended:

Santa Fe: 2016, 2018

About:

Indian master artisan Abdulrauf Khatri is a specialist of Ajrakh block printing. Comfortable with dyeing and printing on both cotton and silk, he produces a range of gorgeously designed wearable items as well as decorative and functional home goods using traditional Ajrakh prints. He has his own workshop and gives employment to more than a dozen regional artisans.

The folk art of Ajrakh block printing originated over 400 years ago, and Khatri’s family name has long been associated with craftsmen of the highest order, who specialized in printing customary fabrics for local communities, each of whom had unique motifs and designs, which were part of their cultural identity. Even the name “Khatri” has ancient roots, and roughly translates into “artisans who apply color to cloth.” The word Arjakh (the block printing technique used by Khatri) is also ancient and is the Arabic word for indigo, a favorite in the color palette of this craft form.

No machines or synthetic dyes are used, so each item is a wholly unique, hand-crafted piece of art. Khatri was born in the village of Dhamadka. A tenth-generation block printmaker, Khatri learned his craft as a young teenager. Khatri has traveled to Delhi, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad for promotion and marketing of his products, and strongly feels that his craft is based on natural laws. He believes, for example, in using earth-friendly vegetable dyes, and also loves the traditional Ajrakh designs of his art. Khatri’s dream is to work for the survival of the original art of Ajrakh for the rest of his life.