Sunday, 20 June 2010

Kalighat Patachitras

Kalighat Parachitras are one of my favourite folk-art forms from India.
Rooted in Bengali themes, their styling and details
have inspired so many artists over the years.
Scroll painters or 'patua's originally hail from rural Bengal,
artists that breathe life into narrative scrolls in the midst of,
often, hostile life situations and rather limited resources.

Here are some Kalighat pats from an exhibition going on at Tejas Gallery in Kolkata:

''The name “kalighat pata” is applied to a class of paintings and drawings on paper produced by a group of artists called ‘patuas’ in the neighbourhood of the famous Kali Temple at Kalighat , in Calcutta in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The art activities of these ‘patuas’, which shared some common technical and stylistic characteristics, developed into an industry, turning out a great number of pictures to meet the popular demand of pilgrims and others visitors to the city. The artists selected as their themes for delineation popular Hindu deities, incarnations and saints, epic and Puranic anecdotes, historical events, incidents of daily life, social skits and different species of Indian fauna.

In recent times, one artist belonging to a family of patuas, Bhaskar Chitrakar of Kalighat, is reviving this style. Inspired by his grandfather, he has decided to create paintings in the same tradition. The artist is very young but the style is old.''

- Aban Desai, Tejas Gallery, Kolkatta

Maa Durga

The Goddess of the temple 'Maa Kali' is the subject of many of the pats.

The next painting is really close to my heart;
resembles the calendar art depictions of Goddess Lakshmi
that I referred to for my earlier Lokkhi paintings.
I am collecting this one, she will reside in one of our kitchen walls :) !!

Religious themes often inspire Kalighat paintings and
the next one is a rather cute rendition of two of Bengal's most celebrated
saint duo: Nimai-Nitai of the Vaishnava traditions of Bengal.

All of these are painted on handmade paper with vegetable dyes.
The next is another one of my favourites, little tota perched on a saadhu.
In the next painting, we have a zamindar with his professional ear-cleaner :)

The 'henpecked' husband (!); humour has always been characteristic of these paintings.

The Kalighat tigers and cat-with-prawn paintings are ever-popular and
I find them - stylistically - brilliant.
If you are in Kolkatta, do not miss this exhibition for many more
delightful kalighat pats.

[**Bhaskar Chitrakar's works are available at TEJAS Gallery, 11 Mayfair Road,

(Opp Ice Skating Rink), Kolkata 700019.


The gallery is open from 12.30 to 7.30 daily except Sundays & public holidays.**]

Here is a video that by Tara Books that showcases scroll-painting beautifully.

Tara books used scroll painters to illustrate their book on Tsunami.

That such a beautiful art is now being referred to as a dying art-form is unfortunate.
The artists in the villages struggle to hold on to their work,
often finding it difficult to afford the paper and materials required to make the scrolls.
Pat-painting has empowered, and still, is empowering many rural woman,
who continue to churn out colourful narrative pieces that
often address social issues and even help spread awareness.

I dedicate my post today to all the patuas of Bengal, past-present and future;
especially my ladies who continue to bring to us such delightful work
and sit down to paint at the end of each day of being a mother/wife/home-maker.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

first few captures

Last Sunday, we had a musical 'baithak' (बैठक in Hindi means lounge,
in this context means an informal function where musicians get together and sing/play),
at a friend's place in the quaint Swiss countryside.
The Geetobitan (referred to as 'Boi' or 'THE book' by Bengalies),
the collection of poems/songs by Rabindranath Tagore.
The harmonium is the traditional /popular/favourite instrument for most
Bongs when singing any genre of folk/Tagore's songs.
Arnab's been playing the sitar since he was about 6-7.
He has got back to playing after almost 17 years
(since he performed at one of his college events)!
music for my eyes
These last few pics I took at home at one of his riyaaz (practice) sessions.
Here is a short video I found on Youtube
of a beautiful bandish in raag Hameer
rendered by one of the finest Sitar players of our times:

A little update from my Etsy shop is that I have some new listings,
take a look here. Hope you're having a good week :), keep well.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

New friend

Will post photos soon :)
~Have a great week ahead~

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