Bhubaneswar, May 20 (LocalWire): Raghurajpur, home to 170 chitrakar families, who brings alive myths and folktales in their patachitras and is normally teeming with tourists that flock the village to take home a piece of Odisha, wears a deserted look after Fani lashed the coast.
The oldest art form of the state, Pattachitra, a portmanteau of Patta (canvas) and Chitra (picture), are originally cloth-based scroll paintings, popular for its intricate details based on mythological themes from the Puranas, epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana and stories from the Jagannatha and Vaishnava sect.
The only source of livelihood for the families of artistes, their years of hard work was washed away during the cyclonic storm.
While the Pattachitra on palm leaf engravings are equally popular, the paintings have also been used in beautifying walls or Bhitti Chitra and palm leaf engravings or Tala Patra Chitra or Pothi Chitra, paper mache, wooden and palm leaf toys and those moulded from raw coconut, polanga seeds and betel nuts and its price is defined by the level of detailing that goes into making it.
Showing his torn painting, artist Pramod Kumar Das said, ‘I have lost paintings worth thousands of rupees in the cyclone.’
‘One Pattachitra painting based on the theme of Ramayana that cost more than ₹5,000 was ruined in the storm,’ Das added.
‘Once the design is torn, one cannot mend it.
What we have lost is energy, patience, and earnings,’ said another artist.
The supply of palm leaves will now charge double the price as the palm trees have been severely damaged, the artist added.
With reality fading the edges of their pattachitras, artists stare at a bleak future after they lost not only invaluable artwork but also customers who otherwise, during the summer holidays, queue up to buy their artworks.