Exploring Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing Jaipur
Address: Anokhi Haveli, Near Badrinath Temple Kheri Gate, Amer, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302028
Located in a traditional townhouse, this museum showcases the art & heritage of wood-block printing.
The creation of the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing was the initiative of Founder & Director, Rachel Bracken Singh and her husband Pritam Singh. Pritam’s father, John Singh, purchased the dilapidated Chanwar Palkiwon ki Haveli mansion in the late 1970s and began a 3 year renovation project in 1989. With the guidance of architects, Nimish Patel & Parul Zaveri, the building was restored to its original grandeur. By demonstrating the feasibility of using indigenous materials, time-honored construction methods and skilled local craftsmen, the preservation project earned a UNESCO award for ‘Cultural Heritage Conservation’ in 2000.
After completion the future use of the haveli was still undetermined. Ultimately, Rachel and Pritam founded a museum dedicated to hand block printing. They employed Museum Consultant, Pramod Kumar (2003-2005) to implement the necessary structural adaptations and to research the Anokhi Archives. Together with Curator, Emma Ronald (2004-2007), Pramod organized the opening exhibition Print Progress ~ Innovation & Revival 1970-2005.
Since then, Suki Skidmore (2007-present) has been working with Rachel to maintain an ongoing research programme, resulting in an ongoing series of publications with related museum exhibitions. She also continues to refine museum practices, focusing on education and community development.
A trip to the Amber Fort is a popular destination when touring Jaipur, but visitors are increasingly adding what critics have called ‘a little gem of a museum’ on to their list as well. In the Fort’s shadow and a mere ten minute walk through the cobbled streets of Amber, the historic capital of Rajasthan, lies the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing (AMHP). Located in a magnificently restored haveli or mansion, the museum displays a varied selection of block printed textiles alongside images, tools and related objects – all chosen to provide an in-depth look into the complexity of this ancient tradition.
Like crafts worldwide, the block printing industry faces serious challenges trying to keep pace with modern manufacturing. The Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing addresses this fragile situation primarily through education. Dedicated to the art of block printing, AMHP strives to inform both textile specialists and general public alike; but more importantly, the artisans themselves are encouraged to visit and view their craft in a unique and inspirational way. Hopefully visitors from India and abroad will leave the museum a little wiser, and also more sensitive to the need of protecting this enduring heritage craft for future generations.
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