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 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
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.
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.