Artist : Midnapore ‘patua’
Title : Hand-painted T-shirt-2
Medium : Fabric paint on cotton
Size : Medium/Large
Year : 2016
About a decade ago, ‘potua’ art was written off as a dying folk art form, as “chitrakars” began drifting away from their traditional occupation in search of a livelihood. Thanks to the timely intervention of various agencies, it has undergone a revival and today the ‘patachitra’ has reached national and international forums.
“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 Midnapore ”potuas” usually draw and paint their stories on a long piece of jute or handmade paper, which they unfurl for potential buyers, singing the story.The themes are usually popular Hindu deities and saints, epic and Puranic anecdotes, folktales and myths, incidents of daily life - farming, dancing, playing music, and different species of Indian fauna.
These hand-painted T-shirts, done in the traditional style, have been created exclusively for Tejas Gallery.