Kartik Hirabhai Chauhan
Medium of Work:
Santa Fe: 2017, 2018
Textile artisan Kartik Hirabhai Chauhan’s family migrated from Pakistan to India in 1946, bringing with them artistic techniques that had been passed down from generation to generation. Unable to make a living in the city of Jamnagar, India, some of Hirabhai’s family moved to Ahmedabad, India. Chauhan’s father was a tailor, and the women in the family used leftovers from his shop to make patchwork quilts and decorative or ceremonial home items.
In 1978, the family received their first big order from Gujarat State Handicrafts and Handloom Development Corporation, to replicate historical items from their museum collections. Today, Chauhan and his collaborators train female artisans in the craft and have been able to help well over 1,400 individual women across the region.
Patchwork and appliqué wall hangings, bedspreads, tablecloths, quilts, and other assorted items are all expertly designed and crafted by Chauhan and his team of artisans. Equal parts functional and decorative, timeless designs include gently abstracted motifs in contrasting tones, as well as realistic depictions of turtles, antelope, or elephants.
Using the ancient technique of appliqué, which is an essential component of many types of Indian folk art, a range of textiles are created. Fabrics used for ceremonial tents and religious rituals, for example, have traditionally featured appliqués of animals, flowers, and mythical characters. In addition to being used to decorate the fabrics and clothing of royalty, appliqué was used to decorate a temple’s ceremonial umbrellas and tents. The story of Kartik Hirabhi Chauhan and his family is one of perseverance and success, which they continue to share with hundreds of artisans and their families.