Bhubaneswar, March 14 (LocalWire): Pattachitra is aesthetically a cult form of temple art with intricate details and mythological narratives that gives a distinctive flavour to the culturally-rich state.
The word evolved from Sanskrit: patta means cloth and chitra means image and therefore, pattachitra means an image painted on a piece of cloth.
Believed to have originated in the 12th century, the people who paint these fabrics mostly hail from Raghurajpur, a small village in Puri district.
But now, it has moved to other parts of the state and many people are practicing this art form here too.
Mahasweta, A woman in her late 50s, talks about how this traditional art has redefined her life. ‘Growing up in Puri, I was always surrounded by culture and art and the amazing artists were my biggest inspiration.
I have been painting and was involved in all kinds of art work like embroidery, tribal painting ever since a teenager but it wasn’t until I was over 40 that I started training under a professional chitrakar.’
Every day, after finishing her daily chores, she spends a few hours in a small spare room in her house and paints; the room is adorned with her artwork. She says,‘It gives me immense pleasure doing something I love even though it took me a long time to start.’ Smiling, she adds, ‘It’s never too late, right?’ She now works professionally and sells her artwork on paintings as well as clothing.
Bhaskar, an artist who graduated from BK College of Arts and Crafts and works professionally, gives us a better insight. ‘When we initially started, we used 100% natural colours but now we have switched to fabric colours as they are more feasible.’
He explains how one painting takes 5-15 days to complete. ‘We paint scenes from the Puranas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata but the main theme remains Lord Jagannath and the Vaishnava sect.’ During his early days, Bhaskar had to go in search of work but now he has his own workshop where he teaches as well.
He also mentions how commercialisation of the art has ruined the conventional artists. ‘Boutiques and organisations buy from us but we get paid peanuts compared to what they sell our artwork for.’ He says this is one of the main reasons for dwindling artists in this field.
Both the artists hope to see this art, closely related to the temple tradition, to get recognition internationally and the artists get their due and the respect that they deserve.