Indian art and crafts have a very diverse history, and Rogan Painting is one of them. This craft is practiced by an only Muslim family in India, the Khatris, who belongs to Nirona in Gujrat’s Kutch district. The family of traditional artists has somehow kept this beautiful art alive for over three centuries, protecting it from vanishing.
The word Rogan means oil in Persian. In Rogan Painting, the paint is made from thick bright colored castor seed oil which is used to paint the fabric. The Castor is basically a crop which is usually grown in the Kutch region of Gujarat, and for this painting the artist source it from the local farmers. Next thing comes is the preparation of the paint.
“The most amusing thing about this painting is the technique in which during the entire process of the gummy paint being carefully twisted into motifs, the blunt needle never comes into contact with the cloth”
First, the castor oil is heated in the vessel and continuously stirred for more than 12 hours till it catches fire. But the paint maker takes care that it doesn’t get burnt. After that, it is mixed with cold water until it thickens into a sticky elastic paste called Rogan. The thick paste is later mixed with natural colors and then immersed in water before storing it in earthen pots. By doing this, the paint retains it malleable texture.
“The Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi gifted a couple of handcrafted Rogan paintings to Ex-President of US Mr. Barack Obama during his visit to the US in 2014, which are still adorn on the walls of White House”
The painting is done very delicately and the prints are often created by artists own imagination. The artists usually prefer to sit on the floor while working and put a small amount of patch of paint on the palm. Then they use an oversized blunt needle and stretch some strands which they place on the fabric in an elaborated pattern.
After dying the Rogan painted cloth, then it is used for making sarees, decorative wall cloths, wall hangings, pillow covers, table cloths. Usually, the designs of the prints include geometric flowers, peacock, the tree or culture of that region.