Birds 8 : Midnapore patachitra painting by Sonali Chitrakar

Birds 8 : Midnapore patachitra painting by Sonali Chitrakar

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Artist :        Sonali Chitrakar
Title :          Birds 4                                                                                                        Medium :    Powder pigments on paper with cloth backing
Size :           28" x 12"                                                                                                           Year :          2023

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“Patta” literally means “cloth” and “chitra” means “picture” in Sanskrit. The materials used are all indigenous and inexpensive, coming from vegetable, earth, and mineral sources. Conch shells, crushed, boiled and filtered, are used for white, black comes from lamp soot, red from ‘hingulal’ stone, green comes from plants and blue from indigo. These extracts are then cooked with the gum from the ‘kaintha’ (elephant apple) fruit tree and applied. The scrolls are unfurled with a story, usually sung. Themes include popular Hindu deities, epic and Puranic anecdotes, folktales and myths, incidents of daily life, and the flora and fauna of their environment.

Midnapore ‘patuas’ of today are the young descendants of old families of scroll-painters. They have continued with the traditional style, form and medium of their ancestors. Sonali Chitrakar has learnt the art from her famous mother Swarna Chitrakar, but her enchanting works are very much her own, both in theme and in execution.