Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Mohammad Arif Khatri, a young Bagh print craftsman, has been feted with the World Crafts Council South Asia Sub-Region award of Excellence 2021-22 for handicrafts by UNESCO.
Arif is the only craftsman from Madhya Pradesh and eight from India to get the award. He has been awarded for excellent workmanship of Bagh print on Kota Silk scarf of size and weight 22x78 inch and 10-20 gram respectively.
Arif who hails from Bagh Village of Dhar district told Free Press that he is elated after. “I was not very hopeful as the awardees were selected by an International Committee ensuring the highest standard of excellence in craft. The meeting of the committee was canceled twice due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
A total of 118 prizes were awarded to craftsmen from 16 countries in the handicraft event organised by the World Crafts Council under the aegis of UNESCO. Eight of them are from India, he added. The result of the award was published online recently, he said.
Arif uses Bagh print on a variety of fabrics and one of these is Kota silk. “Kota silk cloth is very delicate. This chequered knitted stole is very slim and lightweight. Block printing on this type of fabric in the traditional way and engraving the natural colors is a very difficult and complicated task,” he said adding that “it took three months to complete.”
The stole of such a thin cloth has been carefully crafted and designs inspired by many ancient buildings have been used in it. “I incorporated the architecture of some ancient buildings like the Taj Mahal and many traditional designs to enhance its beauty,” Arif added.
Arif has been associated with the work for 16 years. He learned Bagh printing from his father, national and international award-winning craftsman Abdul Kader Khatri and mother national merit award winner Rashida B Khatri. He has exhibited his works in different cities of the country and abroad including Bangkok.