Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kohbar In Mithila !!

MITHILA a region, a rich cultural legacy, a cradle of creativity and a special style of painting .Mithila means all this and more. Tucked away in the foothills of the Himalayas, Mithila is surrounded by rivers ñ the Ganges to the south, the Koshi in the east and the Gandak in the west. The region has its own way of life, religious philosophy, culture, code of social conduct and language on one hand; art, craft and music on the other.

For thousand of years, generation after generation, the women of Mithila have been making ceremonial and devotional floor paintings and wall murals, associated with various festivals and auspicious occasions. They use vivid natural colours, applying these with simple brushes made of bamboo and raw cotton. These paintings contributed to the culture of the region, which survived, and flourished due to countless recapitulation of abstract designs by the women, without much conscious effort. Thus, the ancient culture and tradition of Mithila has been treasured by the women in the folk paintings on the walls of the houses. The pictures on the wall served as living picture books, a vibrant means of visual education, from which a young girl, under the guidance of an experienced lady such as her mother, grandmother or neighbour, learnt to draw stories from ancient epics, myths and legends. The symbols in the paintings were a means of learning and exploring tantras, meditation, sexuality, decoration and culture. The figures in Kohbar had distinct meaning to newlyweds, combining sexuality with spirituality. Thus, even women unversed in the alphabet were steeped in Mithila paintings. These artists of Mithila had no set principles and instructions from any art book to follow. Free of stylistic influences, their own ideas and imagination played a vital role in creating a particular work of art. Strong, unrealistic natural colours and forms imparted an additional sense of the dramatic to paintings infused with an innocent and primal energy.

he year 1934. The place a small district of North Bihar. The chance discovery of a tradition of mural painting by W. G. Archer, a British civil servant and then sub-divisional officer in Madhubani District. He noticed and photographed the richly colored paintings on the walls of inner rooms of these houses, being unable to collect any paintings on paper, which did not yet exist. Archer ís observations on Mithila paintings, published in the art journal MARG in 1949, attracted several art lovers and activists towards this marvelous folk tradition. Among them was Pupul Jayakar of the All India Handicraft Board (AIHB). In 1966-67, when a severe drought hit North Bihar, in order to generate income from activities other than agriculture Mrs. Jayakar assigned Shri Upendra Maharathi and Shri Bhaskar Kulkarni to motivate and encourage the women painters to draw and paint on paper, according to their own tastes, thematic preferences and sense of color. It was a talent search of a sort, in which some twelve artists were discovered as individuals with outstanding capability.

Although the first exhibition on Mithila paintings, held at the London Art Gallery in 1942 went unnoticed, in 1967 an exhibition in New Delhi curated by Mr. Kulkarni was a huge success. This contributed greatly to the recognition of Mithila as a distinct school of folk art. The publication of several books on Mithila paintings, The Art of Mithilaí by the French scholar Yves Vaquard (1977); ëThe Earthen Drumí by Pupul Jayakar; ìIndian Popular Paintingî by Mildred Archer; the efforts of various people like Rajeev Sethi and Haku Shah; Events such as :

Apana Utsaví  and Aditií, part of the Festival of India (in London in 1982, and the US in 1985) and the high honours bestowed on the pioneers of this movement (National Awards such as the 

Padma Shree, Kala Mani, Kala Shree 

and Tulsi Sammanfurther led to the popularisation of this art form on a global scale.


ललित शर्मा-للت شرما said...

बेहतरीन पोस्ट-अच्छी जानकारी दी है आपने।
रक्षा बंधन पर्व की शुभकामनाएं

लांस नायक वेदराम!---(कहानी)

मनोज कुमार said...

इस लोक कला के प्रचार और प्रसार का जो अनुपम कार्य आप कर रही हैं वह अनूठी मिसाल है।

Kusum Thakur said...

प्रोत्साहन के लिए धन्यवाद ललित जी एवं मनोज जी !!

Jyoti Sunit said...

very stunning collection, realy amazing, well done Kusumdi.