Words from the author:
“Born in December, 1961, I come from Samastipur in northern Bihar, a region corresponding the ancient kingdom of Mithila during in epic times. This region, bears high eminence in ancient Indian history, and preserves the rich heritage of folk paintings known as Mithila, or Madhubani paintings. As an artistically inclined girl, I learnt this art form from the elders of my family. I would watch my mother and grandmother makealpana paintings, aesthetically inspiring auspicious designs with raw wet crushed rice, on the floor of the houses, and sketch epic scenes walls.
“Madhubani paintings are a simplified manifestation of the philosophic underpinnings characteristic of Indian folk traditions. Ironically, the revival of this form of painting is linked to the deprivation of Darbhanga district of Bihar during the affliction of terrible drought and famine in 1967. Folk paintings on paper (transposed from the walls which were decorated in houses of Mithila) were specifically promoted to save folks from dire starvation.
“Today Madhubani paintings are executed with natural vegetable dyes on handmade papers, and fabric colors on cotton and silk fabrics. My post-graduate degree in botany has helped me in identifying natural sources of colors from plants. I commenced my work on professional lines in 1984. Since 1991, I have stayed and worked in New Delhi. I sought to redress a deplorable practice that had seeped into the work of Madhubani painters. Most of them, scarcely educated, only replicated earlier works, even if the original piece was stricken with egregious flaws. While remaining true to our traditional roots, I sought to induce an intellectual edge into my paintings, thus lending them a more contemporary look. Today I have several associate Madhubani artists in Bihar with whom I work in unison to create unique works of art. No time frame can be given for the completion of a painting. It can either be a whole day under the effect of inspiration, while others can linger on for months.
“I have been decorating the Bihar Pavilion wall during the India International Trade Fair at New Delhi for the last seven years. As an index of appreciation for my paintings, I have sold over 2,100 paintings in the last ten years of my professional carriers. In March 1995, French Television made a documentary on my paintings that was subsequently shown on Discovery Channel. In 1991, I received a prestigious award from All India Fine Arts and Crafts for fifty years of art in independent India. I was selected for the 71st Annual Paintings competition of All India Fine Arts and Crafts in 1998 and for the 9th All India Fine Arts and Craft competition for traditional painting 1999. I won the state Award for Kalamkari in Mithila painting titled for the year 2000-01. My painting, ‘Eternal Music,’ has bagged the top award in Millennium Art competition from AIFAC for the year 2001
“I am also engaged in a research of my own wherein I intend to prove that a Mithila/ Madhubani painting is the fountainhead of much folk artistry in India and even abroad. While I wish to cater to art-lovers with paintings on classical themes with contemporary tempering, it remains my ardent desire to win the National Award for excellence in handicrafts. I have great hopes from Novica in widening the international exposure to my art. My ardent desire is to spread cosmic harmony amongst humankind through my work.”
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