Imprints of Culture: Block Printed Textiles of India

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Imprints of Culture: Block Printed Textiles of India
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26 Feb - 24 Mar 2016


Imprints of Culture: Block Printed Textiles of India

Imprints of Culture explored the contemporary production and use of Indian block prints. Like few other objects, block prints embody richly diverse histories that have been shaped by trade, conquest and colonisation, technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

This exhibition showed 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.

This show included block prints from leading centres of the craft in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, including 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.

This exhibition was 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).

Read a recent Q&A with the curator, Eiluned Edwards, as she talks to Aesthetica magazine about the exhibition.

Associated events

»  Preview
Wednesday 24 February, 5 pm – 7.30 pm

Joining us for the special preview event will be Deirdre Figueiredo, MBE, who will deliver a welcome speech at 6 pm.

Deirdre is the Director of Craftspace in Birmingham. Aside from the Crafts Council, Craftspace is the only independent crafts promotion, development and touring agency in the country and as such occupies a unique position in the national infrastructure for the contemporary crafts. It supports the creative industries whilst also building social and human capital within communities.

Apart from her position at Craftspace, Deirdre has also played a wider voluntary role contributing to cultural policy and strategy through a range of advisory panels, boards and steering groups including the Museums Association Equal Opportunities panel, Regional Council Member of Arts Council West Midlands, member of Arts Council Capital Lottery panel, Creative and Cultural Skills Advisory Panel and Birmingham City Council cultural strategy working groups.

»  Block Printing Demonstration
Saturday 19 March, 10 am – 4 pm

To coincide with the exhibition, Bonington Gallery is delighted to host a public block printing demonstration with Abduljabbar M. Khatri, a renowned block printer from Kachchh district, Gujarat, India. Read more…


Images 2), 6), and 8): © Eiluned Edwards

1) Length of dabu (mud) resist, leheriya (wave pattern), cotton, block printed and dyed with indigo by Mahesh Dosaya, Paramparik Craft, Bagru, India;
2) Abduljabbar M. Khatri block printing Ajrakh, Dhamadka village, India;
3) Exhibition view;
4) Examples of Ajrakh printing and dyeing process;
5) Printing Blocks;
6) Blue men;
7) Printed Garment;
Kalamkari printing, Polavaram, Andhra Pradesh, India 2014;
9) Ajrakh mihrab block printed and dyed with natural colours by Irfan Anwar Khatri, Ajrakhpur, Kachchh, Gujarat
10) Printing blocks;