Madhubani art in diverse forms

by Ekatmata Sharma
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The famous folk art, Madhubani also known as Mithila art is a beautiful intricate art form hailing from Mithila region of Bihar. This unique art form is being brought forth by Anubhav Nath, curatorial director of Ojas Art for the exhibition titled “Satrangi: An Exhibition of Mithila- Madhubani Art”.
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One can witness a variety of Madhubani artworks by the artists residing in Mithila region of Bihar. From the traditional Madhubani art by master aster artist Santosh Das to the contemporary Madhubani art by protégé artists Mahalaxmi and Shantanu Das along with ten other young and old artists, the selected paintings create their own unique impressions of the traditions-old art form.
The gallery brings alive a array of Madhubani art with more than 50 works by Santosh Das, SC Suman from Nepal, Mahalaxmi and Shantanu Das, Amrita Das, Dulari Devi, Shalini Karn, Kamlesh Roy,Narmada Devi, Rachana Shalini, Babita Karn, Alpna Shalini, Avinash Karn, Shalini Karn and Kamlesh Roy. The participating artists are expert of their field having won the second edition of OJAS Art Award and exhibited their art works at the prestigious Jaipur Literature Festival 2016.
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The exhibition displays art works from one of the finest Mithila master artist, Santosh Das. He is an inspiration for the young Madhubani artists and spreads his art by teaching this art to the younger artists. His best-known work is on Krishna Series and the Gujarat Series which was followed by a series of Buddha and Yoga. He is currently working on his autobiography in Mithila style. His works are in Museums and Institutional Collection of Oberlin Museum USA, Ethnic Art Foundation USA, Mary C Lanius, Denver USA, Asian Heritage Foundation, New Delhi. Protégé Artist Mahalaxmi and Shantanu Das, husband and wife duo work collaboratively in the field of Madhubani Art. Both continue to paint together since 2012 and worked on a series of 24 artworks on Ramayana, which were exhibited world over.
One can witness an array of Mithila paintings in this unique exhibition. The tantric figurative paintings of Krishnanand Jha reflect his personal and professional life. He is one of the few Mithila artists born in Brahmin family in Bihar. Following his father, he became a tantric and later developed his skill in tantric figurative painting. Most of his works comprises the paintings of individual Tantric gods, goddess Chinnmasta which overtones the feminine power. Whereas Kamlesh Roy; the famous contemporary Mithila artist demonstrates the trends of Indian village, wild life and political situation of Bihar in his paintings.
S.C. Suman from Nepal and Avinash Karn belong to the ‘Kachni-Bharni’ style of Mithila painting. S.C. Suman is inspired by his grandmother and mother. He has inherited all traits of the Kachni style of Mithila painting and later on created amalgamation of Kachni style and Bharni style which opened a new dimension for Mithila painting. His works are based on the contemporary issues of political conflict and social disharmony widespread in Nepal. Avinash Karn is associated with the artist group called ‘Kachni-Bharni’ and is involved in the revival of art murals in Madhubani style, which is reflected in his paintings.
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Among the women artists, Dulari Devi is an eminent Mithila artist, born into a poor family in Bihar. Due to poverty, she worked as a domestic helper in an artist’s house. She expressed her willing to learn painting to her employer and her journey in the field of art started. Her inner urge and strong imaginative power turned Devi into one of the renowned faces of Mithila artists from a domestic helper. She has participated in numerous exhibitions, and has illustrated a book to her credit.
In the works of young Mithila artist Amrita Das one can witness an eagerness to make a shift from the radical form of art to a new genre beyond the traditional form. She portrays the contemporary issues of women and portrays their empowerment and the reality of lives in her paintings.
Sharing his thoughts on the collection of the diverse Madhubani paintings, Anubhav Nath says, “The art community has been very supportive of the OJAS Art Award. Over the coming years, we aim to evolve as the premier award in the tribal and traditional art space. As a step forward we will be displaying selected works at the upcoming JLF Boulder, Colorado, USA, which I think is a huge step in taking our culturally rich art, forward.”
The Exhbition “Satrangi: An Exhibition of Mithila- Madhubani Art will be on display at Ojas Art at 1AQ, Mehrauli from August 24 till September 08, 2016.

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