Pattachitra, an art form that evolved in the state of Odisha around the time the temple of Lord Jagannath was constructed in the 12th century AD, is the mainstay of a number of artists in the district of Raghurajpur. The tradition and profession of making Pattachitra paintings has been handed down among families from generation to generation and remains one of the most popular art forms of Odisha.
The word ‘Pattachitra’ is a Sanskrit term that translates to ‘painting on canvas’. However, the process of creating this particular art form is far more specific. Predominantly icon paintings, the popular themes of Pattachitra are The Badhia (a depiction of the temple of Jagannath), Krishna Lila (an enactment of Jagannath as Lord Krishna displaying his powers as a child), Dasabatara Patti (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) and Panchamukhi (a depiction of Lord Ganesh as a five-headed deity). Like most indigenous art forms, borders are an integral part of Pattachitra and consist of three or four panels, depending upon the size of the painting.
Artists create their own canvas and their paint from various natural products. The canvas or the patta is prepared by chitrakars by soaking tamarind seeds in waterfor about three days after which they are crushed, dried and heated. The resultant paste is used to hold two pieces of cloth together. It is then coated with powdered clay stone and finally polished to make the surface smooth and leathery. Artists also make their own brushes through the use of the root of the Keya plant.
The next step is preparing the paints. The key ingredientused by chitrakars is the gum of the Kaitha tree, which is mixed with other natural pigments to create a multitude of colours. These include powdered conch shells for white and the residue of oil lamps for black.
Artists, or chitrakars, use specific motifs, symbols and colours, in different combinations to convey the most diverse emotions. Traditional Pattachitra artists do not deviate from colour tones and expressions that have been handed down for centuries. This is not to say that the art form hasn’t evolved. Chitrakars have diversified their medium of expression to sustain the art form. They often use palm leaves, tussar silk and other easily accessible materials as their canvas to ensure that Pattachitra doesn’t become an extinct part of our history but rather remains living history.
Experience this art on 17th and 18th December and be a part of Pattachitra Art Workshop at Crafts Museum. Indulge yourselves only at Art Pitara! Register now!
Warli art is practiced by the people residing near the forest area of Dahanu and Talaseri district of Maharashtra. It is believed that this tribal art depicts the relationship of an artist with the various determinants of life like traditions, rituals, family and livelihood. A combination of stories, myths, realities, humour, etc., Warli depicts the rustic tribal life. The wall paintings use a very basic geometrical vocabulary: a circle, a triangle and a square, all of which represents natural elements such as sun, moon, mountains, pointed trees and a piece of land. Traditionally these paintings were made by women to decorate the walls of their houses during festive occasions like marriages or harvests. With time, the art has evolved. The artists have now started illustrating Warli on paper, clay pots, clothes, etc. to renew the spirit of story interpretations of their ancestral art. Warli artists such as Shantaram Tumbada and Jivya Soma Mashe have also taken this art to international platforms with their creations such as ‘Evolution of Wheel’ or ‘The Ant’. The ability to absorb regional, national and now, global influences along with novelty of its representation medium, makes it a dynamic and evolving form of art.
Here is glimpse into the art, by the students of NID. This weekend join us and learn this art form to create your own story.
Mata Ni Pachedi, or “behind the Goddess”, refers to an offering made to the Deity. Long time ago, Chitaris created cloth-paintings which were used as Shrines for worship. It was believed that when the Goddess blessed, an offering would be made to her to express gratitude. As time has evolved, so has the art. India is home to a culture of worship and the many stories associated with it. Art, initially used to express these stories has now become a piece of tradition that continues but without as much fanfare. Contemporary initiative have led the artists to illustrate on paper and create many stories using the popular motifs. If you think this is similar to the Kalamkari paintings – true, the technique is largely the same- but the intent, stories and motifs are entirely different ! While a pioneering artist Jagdish Chitari has contributed artwork to Tara Books’ “The Great Race” or BlueTokai’s coffee packaging, a lot remains to be experimented with. It is this journey of exploration that makes the art to addictive, and so endearing. Join us at the workshop, and indulge yourselves 🙂
An insight into the art, by the students of NIFT (Fashion Communication).
The month long winter session of Art Pitara started with the three-day Lippan Kaam workshop. Traditional artists Sumar bhai and his wife Namabai from Kutch, Gujarat conducted the workshop. Lippan kaam, or mirror work is a traditional art that originated in … Continue reading →
The vibrant multitude of traditional Indian art has, over a period, managed to transcend regional boundaries to earn acclaim both within the country as well as worldwide. That Rajasthan is a storehouse of this carefully preserved and laboriously nurtured art is hardly a matter to be second-guessed, being home to popular forms like phad, pichwai and miniature painting. Phad paintings in particular form an integral part of Rajasthani folk culture. Named after ‘phad’, which refers to a long piece of cloth on which the painting is created, each painting represents a visual narrative of epic folktales, and is often accompanied by songs rendered by Rajasthani priest singers called bhopas.
Many artists have devoted their lives to ensure that the unique and invaluable phad painting gets its fair share of recognition in the world of art, while striving to retain its traditional aspects.
A traditional Shahpura phad painting is created on handmade khadi cloth usually 5×16 feet or 5×30 feet, depending upon the subject matter to be depicted, although cotton, khadi silk and even canvas is used by artists these days. “All the products and techniques that we use for painting are homemade. The colours, too, are natural, prepared usually from stone,” says Vijay Joshi, an artist. The colour scheme, where red is the dominant colour with hints of yellow and green, was determined by Joshi’s ancestors many years ago in tandem with the personality and appearance of characters as described in ancient texts, and remains to be in use even now. Right from preparing the cloth and the colours to its completion, creating a phad painting is a highly conscientious process, entailing well-evolved aesthetic sensibilities, careful attention to detail, a rock-steady hand, and most importantly, oodles of patience.
This season of Art Pitara brings you the popular scroll stories of India : Phad, Patua…Santhal!
So unleash the creative side of you, and get started!
Painted using vegetable colors and natural dyes, Kalamkari artworks often tell mythical stories. The practice of this art began during Sri Krishnadevaraya period, where rulers used Kalamkari for drafting important communication, and messaging. Since the ancient period, the art has been practiced traditionally by the skilled craftsman maintaining their own distinct significance.
Kalamkari, has always fascinated the young and old alike.
This winter, at the Art Pitara series, we bring to you an opportunity to make your own Kalamkari painting – indeed, a true piece of heritage.
The Maru potters of Molela near Udaipur in Rajasthan, are famous for their terracotta plaques depicting votive images. Produced mainly for their tribal customers, these are given for the shrines of their tribal gods. The Bhil tribals are the main … Continue reading →
It is believed that the Kaavad Storytelling tradition originated 400 years ago. Today, apart from narrating mythological stories, Kaavad boxes have started to depict modern themes and are largely used to spread awareness about social issues. In these recent times, … Continue reading →
‘Togalu Gombeyaata’ is a puppet show unique to the state of Karnataka, India. The puppets used in Togalu Gombeyaata are made of leather. Goat hide and deer skin are generally used for making these puppets since they have the characteristic of transparency … Continue reading →
It is said, that Pithora paintings bring good luck, depict celebration and sometimes, are done just to “thank” the almighty. Watch the video to know how painters make their colour, the brush, and welcome the art into their lives, as part of auspicious rituals.