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he true origin of batik has never been determined, but it can safely be presumed to be at least 2,000 years old. Archaeological findings prove that the people of Egypt and Persia used to wear batiked garments, as did the people of India, China, Japan and most countries in the East.
With the light filtering through the fabric as it does in batiked lampshades, screens and partitions, batik is a younger craft than stained glass, but exceeds stained glass in its delicacy and variety of texture, characteristics which make it a favourite in interior decoration.
The technique today is very different from the Indonesian one, but batik remains a fascinating craft, lasting and varied in its possibilities. In comparison with the fine arts of painting in oil and watercolour, batik has its limitations. Once the process has been started, it is practically impossible to correct any mistake in drawing or dyeing, each piece of batik being an original.
A revival of the ancient art of batik, a wax-drop-resistant technique in a contemporary and creative blending of colours and designs, has been undertaken by the women of the Godrej Pragati Kendra under the guidance of Smita Godrej Crishna. To keep up this ancient art and to create an awareness of this fascinating craft, an exhibition was held at the Godrej Bhavan Showroom from 16 to 18 October, 2003, one week before Diwali. It was inaugurated by Dr. Saryu Doshi, Hon. Dir., National Gallery of Modern Art. The exhibition had a collection of table linen, odhnis, sarees, kurtis, scarves and screens on display.
Susmita Rakesh Singh