Like few other objects, block prints embody richly diverse histories that have been shaped by trade, conquest and colonisation, technological innovation and entrepreneurship.
The exhibition shows how block printing, one of India’s foremost crafts, has not only played a role in the ritual life of the subcontinent but also in the creation of visual identity. Integral to caste dress and modern urban style, block prints have been a significant source of revenue through centuries of domestic and international trade.
The show includes block prints from leading centres of the craft in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, and includes traditional designs as well as innovations. It has been developed in collaboration with block printers in these areas as well as fashion designer, Aneeth Arora.
The exhibition is supported by the British Academy (International Partnership and Mobility Scheme, 2014-17). The research underpinning it was funded by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2012-14).
Image: © Eiluned Edwards, Abduljabbar M. Khatri block printing ajrakh, Dhamadka village, India.