Years ago, Bishnu Prasad Moharana left his home State of Orissa with the art he knew best — from the tribal heartland. His work, mostly on paper, would be accompanied by some advice such as, “This one is for harmony in the household,” and “That one is to avoid jealousy”.
Today, this savvy 45-year-old, who now has a pulse on popular tastes, has moved on to what he calls “Indian classical art”, working on oils and acrylic. He cheerfully acknowledges this is on the advice of his patrons.
His new paintings, all painted against striking backgrounds, he says, depict images from the “vanishing art” and draws from Indian heritage. In his paintings, he explores kitsch such as the good old Ambassador, Contessa, Royal Enfield bike, cattle herds, autorickshaws and ancient modes of transport such as palanquins and bullock carts.
His eyes set firm on the monetary value of his work, he says that his new collection could serve as souvenirs for tourists.
Before embarking upon this new journey, Mr. Moharana, a resident of Dhenkanal near Bhubaneshwar, worked for 21 years as an anthropologist collecting data from tribal districts in Koraput, Rayagada, Muniguda, Lanjigarh and Paralakhemundi in Orissa. He says his association with tribal communities and their cultures, their deceptively primitive method of paintings and his in-depth knowledge about their lifestyle, helped fuel his creativity. His older collection of the Tree of Life paintings — depicting the various aspects of tribal lifestyles — speaks for itself.
His current collection is priced between Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 5,000. Mr. Moharana can be contacted on +919590042035.