Rizwan Khatri is a 7th generation Rogan artist. His father Sidik Khatri, a well known Master artist from village Nirona in Kutch lost everything after the 2001 earthquake and had to forcibly give up rogan art in order to support his family. Rizwan was a young student then but had the vision and love for his family’s heritage to take up rogan art again. His father, first skeptical, saw his perseverance and supported him and his brother then took up the art too and together they have been innovating and taking this art forward in new ways. His work has now also been showcased at the Lakme Fashion Week and a painting by him has also been presented by PM Modi to the British High Commissioner. Rizwan has now also taken the initiative to teach this art to 15 women in his village – again a testament to his progressive thinking as women were earlier barred from learning this art.
This craft is a form of surface embellishment and practiced for over hundred years, but now by only a few families in Nirona, Kachchh. A special paste made of castor is used in this craft. Castor seeds are hand-pounded to extract the oil and turned into a paste by boiling, Colored powder diluted in water is then mixed with this. The pastes of different colors yellow, red, blue, green, black and orange are stored in earthen-pots with water to prevent them from drying up. The kalam, an iron rod, flat at both ends, is used to paint half the design with the support of the fingers of the left hand. It is then impressed on the other half of the cloth by pressing the two halves together. As they were inexpensive substitutes for embroidered textiles, they were popular alternative textiles for clothing. Today, cushion covers, bed spreads, skirts, kurtas, curtains, tablecloths and wall hangings are painted using this technique. Generally, geometrical motifs are preferred; motifs from nature such as tree-of-life are very popular for wall hangings.