Folk art is an expression of traditional cultures. Individuals whose creative skills convey their community’s authentic cultural identity. Almost every village of India has its own style of Folk arts. Some very popular folk art forms of India include Kalamkari, Madhubani, Kalighat Patachitra, Phulkari, etc. Madhubani art, also known as Mithila art, originated in the Kingdom of Janak ( Sita’s father in the epic Ramayana ), in Nepal, and in present-day Bihar. It is one of the most popular forms of Indian folk art, women, who wanted to be unified with God practices it .
HISTORY OF MADHUBANI ART :
Paintings and art often reflect the culture and tradition of the place of their origin. Madhubani art is a 2500 years old folk art. It is said to date back to the time of Ramayana when King Janak asked an artist to capture his daughter Sita’s wedding to Prince Rama. These paintings, unique in themselves, were created mostly by womenfolk on walls and floors of homes during festivals, ceremonies, or special occasions. Their paintings often illustrated their thoughts, hopes, and dreams.
The knowledge was passed down from one generation to another and the paintings began to adorn the houses of this region. Mithila Painting, also known as Bhittichitra was discovered in 1934 when a massive earthquake hit Bihar.
The British colonial officer of Madhubani District, William G. Archer suddenly came across these paintings in the interior walls of the homes while he was examining the extent of the damage caused by the earthquake.
Over time, Madhubani paintings became an integral part of festivities and special events like weddings. Slowly, this art started attracting connoisseurs of art as many contemporary Indian artists took it to the global stage. But the contemporary artists have merged these five styles and practice one form now.
FEATURES OF MADHUBANI ART :
One of the most salient features of Madhubani art is the usage of Geometrical patterns. In fact, the application of these complex mathematical patterns makes Madhubani art more intriguing and special. The themes used in Madhubani art mostly revolve around Hindu deities like Krishna, Rama, Lakshmi, Shiva, Durga, and Saraswati. Also, heavenly bodies like the sun and moon form the centerpiece of Madhubani paintings.
Notable Madhubani Artists
Sita Devi was born in the Jitwarpur village in the Madhubani district of Bihar. The government of Bihar then honored her with the prestigious Bihar Ratna in 1984. In 2006, the government of India conferred on her the title, Shilp Guru.
Not just in India, but Ganga Devi popularized this ancient art form in foreign countries as well. For her efforts, the government of India honored her with the National Award for Crafts.
– Also born in Madhubani, Bihar, Mahasundari Devi was a renowned Madhubani artist. She started learning the art form from her aunt at a very young age. Mahasundari Devi played a key role in supporting and developing not just Madhubani painting but also various other art forms of Bihar by creating a cooperative society. In 1982, the President of India honored her with the National Award. The Government of Madhya Pradesh then bestowed on her the prestigious Tulsi Samman in 1995. Mahasundari Devi breather her last on 4 July 2013, but left behind a great legacy. Bibha Das, her daughter-in-law, is an award-winning Madhubani painter as well.
– Born in Samastipur, Bihar, Bharti Dayal learnt the traditional art form from her mother and her grandmother. She then displayed her works in various exhibitions throughout the world. The director of MOSA, Martin Gurvich, appreciated her works and called her the ambassador of Madhubani painting in the modern world. In 1995, a documentary aired on a French television channel displayed her Madhubani paintings. In 2006, Bharti Dayal won the National Award for excellence in the art form. . She has also won many state awards.
– Jagdamba Devi is another important exponent of Madhubani paintings. Other Madhubani painters like Shashi Kala Devi, Leela Devi, Bauwa Devi, Yamuna Devi, Bindeshwari Devi, Chandrakala Devi, Shanti Devi, Chano Devi, Godavari Dutta, Ambika Devi, Manisha jha and Chandrabhushan have also been honoured with national awards.
Over time, Madhubani paintings became a part of festivities and special events like weddings. Slowly, this art attracted connoisseurs of art as many contemporary Indian artists took the art on global stage. . Since the paintings have been confined to a limited geographical range, the themes as well as the style are more or less, the same.