Bengaluru: “Madhubani art is an asset,” says Ashok Kumar Das, a practitioner of this art form from the Mithila region of Bihar. This seamless Indian folk painting is executed with twigs, brushes, pen nibs and match sticks. It is among the unique and traditional artwork on display at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath(KCP).
The ‘Artisan’s Bazaar’ portrays the true calibre of some artisans who were seriously affected by the pandemic but has made a long and arduous journey to Bengaluru to sell their wares.
Sarada, from the Chettinad region of Sivaganga district in Tamil Nadu, has brought along antique items for the home made of brass, bronze, copper and other metals. She says: “Owing to the durability of these items, we have visitors who resell historically significant utensils back to us.’’
The exhibition also has a stall that displays materials of Kashmiri silk, “Chinon.” The thread is manufactured only in Kashmir. "This silk material provides a sense of coolness,” says Faizal, a shopkeeper of Kashmiri silk, explaining his fine piece of artwork. “The Centre has reduced the number of such exhibitions across the country. So the sales have drastically come down.”, he adds echoing what many of these small businessmen have felt. They are optimistic about a light at the end of the tunnel with vaccination and more people stepping out of their homes to patronise exhibitions like these once again.
With all the independent artists getting recognition on the platform, a non-government organisation was present there to showcase its jewellery collections and accessories. This concept was initiated by a team of three members who adopted mainly Banjara, Rabari and other styles of tribal work.
Ashok Das, an artist from Bihar with his Madhubani art. Credits: Siddhi J (PG '22)
‘Madhubani’- art that connects to your heart
‘Madhubani’ is a traditional style of painting that can be gifted or purchased for all occasions, including festivals. The work is based on themes including the sun, the moon, flowers, animals, birds, religious plants and others. The work also imprints the designs of royal courts and family ceremonies.
Artist Ashok Kumar Das believes that this art form spreads positive vibrations to the visitors. “Our paintings surely have a divine artistic energy in them, and we wish to spread this to as many houses as possible through our work,” says Das.
The speciality of this art form lies in making use of the same pattern but with alterations in some details. Each painting shows the essence of Haldi (turmeric), Harashringar (night jasmine), Kajal (a black powder applied on the eyelids and Peepal (sacred fig). “Our art will build a connection with your heart irrespective of your nature and beliefs,” says the artist passionately.
This art has been trying to come into the limelight for the last 50 years. He claims that the Madhubani style of painting was first used by his great grandmother Padmashri Jagadamba Devi, who contributed immensely to developing this lesser-known art form. The next generation has carried on with her rich legacy. “We got an official recognition from the Government and people are gradually learning about our art form,” says Das. He says that each of his paintings certainly has a message to convey and a symbol to show. “As this is folk art, you will not find any difference in portraying the genders of elephants, birds and even human beings. We promote equality. This art has been growing at its own pace for the last 52 years”, he quips.