Experimental forms of traditional Madhubani, Phad & Kalamkari art

 Experimental forms of traditional Madhubani, Phad & Kalamkari art

Architect Manisha Jha has brought Madhubani paintings to commercial art galleries

Team L&M

Experimental art is what we can term the ongoing show Ekayan – Ek Sutra, at Bikaner House, New Delhi. The exhibition is showcasing three traditional art forms – Madhubani, Phad and Chintz by National Award-winning artists Manisha Jha (Madhubani); Prakash Joshi (Phad) and J Niranjan (Kalamkari/Chintz), but with a twist. The show is organised by Art Tree, an organisation that supports and promotes Indian traditional and contemporary art and artists through exhibitions, workshops and symposiums.

“The idea behind holding this show is to expose youngsters to our unique, traditional, admirable and inimitable art forms. The youngsters today are attracted to these art forms, be it paintings, sculpture, pottery, or textile arts. The new generation looks at them with renewed interest and are even keen to learn,” says Art Tree Founder Pragati Agarwal. “Each of these art forms have been passed down from one generation to another, and continue to be vibrantly alive in many parts of the country though some of them have had cultural, as well as religious influences over the past decades,” she adds.

“We need to enhance and keep alive the rich folk art traditions by creating awareness and finest art-works for economic sustenance of women artists from Mithila,” says Jha, an architect by profession who has contemporised the idiom of Madhubani Paintings by becoming the first woman artist to bring this art in Commercial Art Galleries. Jha is also credited with documenting the oral narratives of Bihar, like Madhushravani festival, Ramayan and Mahabharat as narrated in the villages across Mithila.

J. Niranjan and his Kalamkari art works.

Talking about the show, Niranjan says, “I believe Kalamkari is more than an art form. It is a way of life seamlessly integrating existences. I am working on the legacy of my father Guruappa Chetty, who worked on reviving Chintz – a forgotten art form. Ekayan-Ek Sutra is the right platform to show and educate people about this newly revived art form”. Appreciating the Art Tree for bringing these traditional art forms to fore, Niranjan, says that Kalamkari is not just an art form, but much more than it – it is a way of life seamlessly integrating existences.

Conscientious about environment degradation, the artist is passionately working towards promoting the usage of Natural Dyes in Kalamkari to protect the environment and artisans lives from the pollution that is created by using the chemical dyes.

Prakash Joshi and his Phad painting 

Joshi hails from a family of Phad painters of Bhilwara. Traditionally made in large sizes, Phad is now making its way into the drawing rooms of people in small sizes, thanks to Joshi who learnt miniature art to hone his skills. He has created a series of Phads for Ekayan-Ek Sutra in miniature format. This is first time that Phads are being done in miniature format.

“I am trying to reach out to the smallest corner of every home with my Phad miniatures,” he says.


The show is on till December 30, 11am to 6pm



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