Orissa’s patachitra painting, which probably owes its origin to 5th century BC temple wall murals, is today a much loved canvas art done in mellow vegetable hues, delicately brush-stroked to present a panorama of mythology and folklore. With curved figures reminiscent of Odissi dancers, patachitra has today morphed into ‘tussar painting’ as well, carrying an old tradition forward.
Mahindra Majhi, who hails from a family of patachitra artists, is proficient in tussar painting which he executes with a fine sense of balance. A State Award winner, he continues to make original patachitras on canvas, which is made by spreading a mix of tamarind pulp, stone powder and water on khadi cloth. Majhi says, “My father, from whom I learnt the craft, my mother and sisters are all involved in the process.”
Mahindra Majhi’s tussar frames are exquisite representations of tribal life, flora and fauna, and trees unique to Orissa. He says, “We make our own colours at home, using sea shells, crushed green and yellow stone, and roasted rice from which black is derived.”
On view at the Orissa Handloom and Handicrafts exhibition are renditions of Krishna leelas full of superbly delineated cows, Ganesa in unusual shocking pink garb and frames filled with birds such as koel, bulbul, kokutua, crows and sparrows. Delicately executed leafy trees are another feature of Majhi’s work.
The exhibition also features Award winner T. Rama Rao’s ikat Sambhalpur saris, yardage and dupattas. His Award winning sari with Konark wheel border and figures of apsaras spanning the body, is innovative. His body of work includes saris and yardage in vibrant colours with a dramatic interplay of colour and motifs.
Appliqué work, dhokra icons, silver jewellery, painted wooden figures and terracotta items are also on display. Rajasthani lac bangles add a festive touch.
The Orissa Handlooms and Handicrafts exhibition has been put together by Utkalshree, a cooperative society from Bhuvaneshwar, and is on at Saraswat Association, 28/89, Ormes Road, (opp Bains School), Kilpauk, till August 15.