Traditional Textiles - Contemporary Cloth (2010)

Neighbouring Sanganer retains a near mythical status in hand printing, and is still a vital contributor to India’s vibrant textile industry. Yet, major changes have occurred. The once tight-knit community of chhipas printers and rangrez dyers working in harmony using traditional methods fractured with the introduction of screen printing and chemical dyestuff. Since 1947 this influential town has rapidly transformed from a traditional printing village into a commercial hub with high volume production of modern cloth.

This exhibition explores the fascinating history of the town and its artisans, beginning in the 17th century.  From the delicate florals and coloured muslins of royalty, to the sturdier printed cloth that adorned villagers at a multitude of celebrations both secular and sacred, Sanganeri block printing was prized worldwide. Neither mechanisation nor a 20th century flood of epic proportion could destroy the resolve of the block printing community. Sanganer: Traditional Textiles – Contemporary Cloth details the challenges, but also highlights hard won successes. In many ways, the story of Sanganer offers a cautionary tale, embodying the dilemma of all heritage crafts that need to merge the best of the past with contemporary innovations.