Saturday, 28 February 2009

''Amrita Devi'': new video and painting

Last week, I stumbled upon this beautiful photograph (on Claude Renault 's) FlickR of a ''Bishnoi'' woman from Rajasthan. I was intrigued enough about these rural women to do my own little www research. This is what I found. 

The Bishnois can be called the first environmentalists of India. They have been religiously following rules of environment and wild life protection and conservation since 1485, when environmentalist saint Guru Jambeshwar made it part of the Bishnoi religion by incorporating two cardinal rules: "you shall not cut green trees", "you shall be compassionate to all living beings". 

It was incredible to read the life story of Amrita Devi and how she started the ''Chipko'' movement. The video narrates the story. I painted her using Claude's photograph as my reference.

''Amrita Devi''
Acrylic on stretched gallery wrapped canvas
30 cm x 50 cm

The gold shines and the change of light make sthe painting look different,
here is a snap in full bright day light.


Tammy said...

Beautiful, both the painting and the photo. How inspiring to find such vibrant colors on such a vibrant woman.

Sonia said...

I've admired Claude Renault's photographs for a while, and your interpretation of his painting is beautiful.

RK Bishnoi said...

Nice painting & nice writing
Good effort
keep it up
take care
For more details about Bishnois you can visit

RK Bishnoi

Connie said...

What an incredible story. But, I'm' shocked that it took 365 people to die before the group realized this was a big deal. 365!! That's a lot of people that martyred themselves before something was done. I would think one person would have been enough...maybe two, five at the most. I just can't

get over that number of people before anyone did anything. Such disrespect for life...that group---both of the natural and human.

Another beautiful painting Dee. I love how you honor this woman by turning her into a tree.

Peace & Love.

Neeraj said...

this incident happened in 1730approx. 300 years ago, & if i'm not wrong is among the first environmentalist movement in the world.

And the world have seen the complete villages being obliterated to the last child of the village against the slightest whims of kings & dictators. these were only 365 martyrs(, not a big amount from that perspective)

Fernanda R. Lima said...

That's an amazing story! And your interpretation of her is exquisite!



Kanika Bahl said...

your painting is wonderful! i love how you have captured and represented the emroideries on her blouse as well as the bandhani in her dupatta!

~ ॐ ~ said...

extremely nice use of colors... and the portrayal is so nice !!!

loved going through this post Dee !

~ ॐ ~ said...

And I just saw the video !!!

Amazing ! you are so good !

I loved going through it !

Dithi said...

Tammy: Thank you for your very prompt feedback. This video was a lot of work on Saturday morning, a story worth all that time.

Sonia: I am amazed at Claude's India photos, no wonder he says: ''India is like my second country'' I am so glad (read: relieved) to know that someone who follows Claude's work finds this painting adequate :).

RK Bishnoi: It was reassuring to have your approval on my rendition of this subject. Thank you for the link, I am amazed by the principles of Bishnoism.

Connie: Neeraj has responded to your question. I am not educated enough on this subject to be able to give you a confident answer. Sure, this episode raises that question in our minds.
Also, it was interesting how you think that I portrayed her as a tree. I did not mean to, but as the painting progressed, I realised that her skin really looks like it is the bark of the tree and the leaves almost spring from her veil. I am glad it turned out that way.

Neeraj: You are absolutely correct about the date and the fact that this was, indeed, the very first environmentalist movement in India.

Fernanda: Merci beaucoup. Gracias mon amie!

Kanika: Thanks for the attention to the details, I just loved the work on the blouse and the colours in Claude's photograph, I changed almost nothing.

Prashant: Thank you. I know I could have done a better job at the video, but I didn't hesitate to post this out of sheer desperation to share this amazing episode and the courage of this beautiful woman.

~ ॐ ~ said...

Whatever it is :)

I am a big fan :)

writer said...

your work is beautiful. it reminds me of jamini roy and rekha rodwittiya and yet its different. nice.

LuLu said...

Bonjour Dee! I love this post! This painting is amazing, the colors so intense and so surprising all together... I love Amrita's full and heavy bossom, she is so real and so alive... Beautiful! Have a happy week! LuLu

Rupa said...

Dee, this is one gorgeous painting, and a touching story! We have a good friend who is a Bishnoi but unfortunately, we didn't know the story about Bishnoism. He never mentioned it, I am proud to have learnt something so wonderful about this community! Thanks to you!!! Hats off to Claude's picture (I have always loved his photography!) that inspired this fantastic painting (hats off to you here!).

Dithi said...

Writer: Jamini Roy has been an icon for me since childhood, both him and Ramananda. I was not aware of Rekha Rodwittiya's work (my ignorance lies exposed!), but read about him after reading your post. Thank you.

Lulu: Bonjour Chérie!!! I am glad you mentioned her ''heavy bossom'', it is reminiscent of Claude's subject and I thought that this personnage sat well with my imagery for Amrita devi.

Rupa: I was hoping that you see this post and am glad that you liked the colours and think that I could do some justice to the subject. Claude is fantastic. Love his work and his India blog.

Anonymous said...

Dithi, In all your paintings, the eyes seem to say it all! Great work!

अविनाश said...

beautiful blog u have gt..loved it

Dithi said...

Aditi: you know 'dithi' means 'drishti' or 'vision' in Bengali, it was a name usd by Tagore in one of his poems! Thanks!

Avinash: Welcome n Thank you :)!

vishnu said...

thx 4..good effort for amrita devi bishnoi.
i like this gorgeous painting...

Vishwanath Seshadri said...

Firstly, a huge vote of thanks to Arnab for guiding me to your blogspot.

Secondly, a HUGE compliment to you Dee for having come up with such a creative and wonderful site.. Your paintings, your design, your choice of subject etc. all are very very impressive.

Thanks and God Bless !!


Shankari said...

Very very beautiful and vibrant.

Shankari said...

I saw the youtube video only now, it is so disturbing to note that 363 people had to lay down their lives before the king and his people came to their senses. What a waste of human life.

We should all inculcate the tree loving habit from the bishnois. Thanks for sharing the video.

Vasishta said...

Vasishta : Amazing story and a very good fineart work; Some of the (paintings) portraits seem to be inspired by the traditional Japanese art style or ?

Dithi said...

Vish: Thank you!
Vishnu: Thanks!
Shankari: A haunting horrific page in history
Vasishta: Thank you, my work is not consciously influenced by Japanese art....but am happy to know of this coincidence if it be...

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