The Akanksha children have over the years learnt all about block printing but it’s completely different when you get an artist to teach you. We had Khatri Abdul Rauf, an Ajrakh printer from Gujarat conduct a workshop. The Akanksha schools were privileged to have Indian folk artists from around the country conduct workshops in our schools. As the first leg of a tie-up with Paramparik Karigar, we had 35 students in the Abhyudaya Nagar English Medium School between grades 6 and 8, hear the story of Ajrakh printing from an artisan who breathes the art day in and out. It’s been passed down generations of his family and today through the efforts of organisations like Paramparik Karigar, he gets to take his art into the cities and earn a living.
Ajrakh in Arabic refers to a moonless sky at midnight with the stars sparkling in the darkness. Literally, it could mean ‘keep it for today’ (aj – today, rakh – keep) – it is believed that the more one delays in starting the next process of printing, the more stunning the piece turned out!!
The most exciting part of the workshop for the children was them seeing that the dye that Abdul bhaiya used could be made at home from simple everyday ingredients! They were thrilled to have printed their own little piece of fabric and found the entire process fascinating.