Patola: the ikat of Gujarat
MetadataShow full item record
Any discussion of Ikat weaving in Gujarat begins and ends in the Patan Patola. The Patan Patola is indeed the finest representation of the ikat in Gujarat and also the most expensive in the market but, the Ikat of Rajkot and Surendranagar also stand at the same level in terms of quality and aesthetics. In recent times the Patan Patola has also received the Geographical Indication (GI) certification to protect its distinctive identity and ensure its survival. This is indeed a matter of pride for the Ikat weavers of Patan. But other weavers of Ikat located in Rajkot and Surendranagar have felt threatened by the new distinction conferred on Patan and have complained that the market for their Ikat could be impacted. After consultations with specialists at ATIRA and after doing extensive ethnographic research among consumers and the Ikat producers of Gujarat at the Garvi Gujarat annual exhibition, I felt that one way addressing the concerns of the Ikat weavers of Surendranagar and Rajkot would be to promote their products on a platform that would showcase Ikat weaving traditions in Gujarat as a whole. Hence, I chose the platform of an interactive multimedia kiosk because I thought in could reach out to wide range of consumers at an exhibition site that brought together both weavers and consumers at a single location. The interactive kiosk could be situated easily at the ground of the Garvi Gujarat exhibition as well as other similar exhibition sites where audio-visual promotional material on textiles mainly films were. Already being used to educate consumers. After looking at the response to these films that were being shown at the exhibition ground, I realized that consumers visiting the exhibition grounds had little time to sit through an entire film. They had time constraints and wanted to do a quick check on the product they were buying. In there circumstance is was better to develop a communication strategy that would provide them with the relevant information and give them the choice to seek out whatever they wanted. A film did not gave them that choice. The multimedia interactive framework would bring together the story of Ikat in Gujarat, that is bring out the distinctiveness of each of its weaving centres and allow the consumers to make an informed choice about the product they would wish to buy. This interactive multimedia kiosk, at the heart of textile exhibitions, besides communicating the story of Ikat of Gujarat to the consumers, would also brand Patoda a s’Ikat of Gujarat’ and not separately as Patan, Rajkot or Surendranagar Patola as well as encourage tourist to visit Rajkot and Surendranagar along with Patan to see and understand Ikat of Gujarat. This will also help weavers from these two regions to sustain themselves and establish their identity as equal contributors as protectors of Ikat tradition of Gujarat along with Salvis of Patan.