Dying art of Rogan - Nirona, Kutch, Gujarat

Nirona, Kutch, GJ

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Gafoorbhai Khatri's family living in Nirona in Kutch region of Gujarat is quite unique- while most member of this family has not stepped out of Kutch, their art form, Rogan has spread far and wide in the world including the White House! Rogan art ,which is more than 300 hundred years old, is one of the dying arts of India - getting lost from generation to generation of artisans who have moved on to better paying work. Khatri family is the lone family in Kutch who still continue the tradition of Rogan art. It is an oil based art form which uses castor oil, which is found abundantly in the Kutch region, as the base. The oil is heated for hours and cooled instantaneously creating a thick resin-like liquid called Rogan. This is then mixed with natural colors and used to paint on cloth with a wooden stick. Rogan paintings are symmetrical so the artist draws only half of the design and then folds the cloth to create a mirror image. The Persian roots of this art form can be clearly seen in its flower and minaret type motifs. The Khatri family are warm inviting bunch and invited us into their house for a demonstration of how the painting is actually done and tell us stories about other famous visitors. Their most famous design is the tree of life which is apparently a favorite of the current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi!

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