The poignant art of Rogan- Kutch, Gujarat

The poignant art of Rogan- Kutch, Gujarat

Rogan Art is considered among the most intricate forms of art done on clothing, it is like a wearable canvas.

Traditionally this art form was used to adorn bridal trousseau with beautiful motifs and floral work.

It was brought to India by the Afridi tribe from Persia via Afghanistan & Pakistan. It finally arrived in a small village called Nirona in Kutchh, Gujrat about 400 years ago.

This dying craft was renewed by the Khatri community of Nirona Village (40 km from Gujarat) in the late 20th century.

The term “Rogan” was derived from the Persian language, which means varnish or oil. This oil-based paint is used to craft designs on the fabric. The Khatri family has preserved this rare art from vanishing into the folds of history.

Castor Oil is heated and continuously stirred in a large vessel for 6-7 hours. Heating of Castor oil is carefully done to avoid burning of the oil.

Colored pigment is added with cold water and mixed with a stone to the residue, until it makes a sticky elastic paste called Rogan.

It is stored in water to maintain the malleable texture of Rogan and can be used for the next 10-15 days.

The beauty of this rare art is that no designs or patterns are pre-drawn on the fabric and is precisely done with the artist’s imagination.

The oversized blunt stylus like needles helps the artist to paint with colorful strands of Rogan. With expert intricacy, the motifs and floral design are created without the needle touching the fabric.

The cloth is then folded to create a mirror image and sun-dried for 2 days to get a final finish. It may take between 2 days to 3 months for crafting a Rogan art piece depending on the product and detailing required.

Rogan painted cloth is used to make apparels, wall hangings, table-cloths, pillow covers, and designer handbags.

Rogan Paintings have adorned the walls of the White House as well, since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented an exquisite Rogan “Tree of Life” painting to US President Barack Obama.

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