In India, there are various cultural art and craft forms that have been in existence for centuries, passed down from one generation to the next. Some of these cultural art and craft forms have nearly disappeared over the years, with only a few practitioners left. This creates an urgent need to document them before they become extinct, lest we lose valuable links to our cultural past as well as some priceless examples of ancient skill-sets (such as wood-craft, leather-craft, goldsmithing, etc.) This article focuses on one such endangered art and craft forms found in India and discusses their history and relevance in modern times.
Over the years, people of the Mithila region of Northern Bihar and South – Eastern Nepal have developed a distinctive form of folk painting on the walls and floors of their homes. Originally a form of bhitti – chitra or wall art, this ancient art form of Madhubani is a heritage rooted in the rhythms of Hindu ritual life.
Predominantly a feminine expression, the themes and motifs of Madhubani are drawn from a palette of mythical figures, Gods and Goddesses, ritual activity and very importantly, local flora and fauna. The region of Mithila abounds in marshes and ponds from where the women draw their staple motifs of lotus, fish, turtles, snakes and other elements of aquatic life. Generally, Mithila or Madhubani paintings are identified by the fact that no space in the painting is left uncovered. The colours are bright, vibrant and eye catching.
Haath Ka Bana promotes traditional folk art and crafts of India which are fading with time. With the objective to Preserve : Promote : Empower, we work with the artisans at grassroot level in creating sustainable livelihood opportunities by handholding them to upgrade their skills and producing artistic creations based on market trends and modern customer needs.
In year 2017 Haath Ka Bana made headlines when we organised the art exhibition during Patna Book Fair which was inaugurated by chief minister Nitish Kumar. Artists from 13 states showcased their traditional art and handicrafts at the exhibition.
Padma Shri Baua, who hails from Madhubani, also participated in the art exhibition. Baua Devi, who was present at the press conference, said she started Madhubani painting at an early age of 13 years. The imagination and passion of an artist render a beautiful artwork in the long run. At the beginning, the artist should focus on his/her work and success follows with time, she said.