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Painting workshop for school dropouts

Staff Reporter
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It is aimed at preserving the tradition of tribal art among the new generation

Trainees at the traditional Saura painting training programme concentrating on their work in Berhampur on Monday. — Photo: Lingaraj Panda
Trainees at the traditional Saura painting training programme concentrating on their work in Berhampur on Monday. — Photo: Lingaraj Panda

A group of school dropouts from tribal and dalit community are now undergoing training in traditional Saura painting to enhance their scope of livelihood.

This special 20-day-long painting workshop has been sponsored by the State Tourism Department would continue till next Monday. Twenty five young boys and girls are taking part in this special workshop aimed at preserving the traditionof tribal art among the new generation. It is also aimed at making these youths self-reliant using their traditional tribal art form. It is the first project of the State Tourism Department to enhance skills of tribal and Scheduled Caste youths.

Their artistic skill is expected to provide them source of income as in recent past demand for Saura paintings is on the rise and several townships in Orissa have started decorating the public walls by Saura paintings.

These youngsters are being imparted basic skills related to tenets of art and they are being specifically trained in the Saura style of painting. They are being trained by prominent artists and experts in Saira art. Their trainers include artists like Basant Patnaik, Panchana Sahu, Kedar Sabat etc. Mr. Patnaik said Saura tribals of the State are one of the oldest tribes of India and history of Saura paintings is around 5000-years-old. Their traditional paintings originated out of religious and ceremonial rituals. This art form is still found in Saura tribal villages in Rayagada, Gajapati, Ganjam and Koraput districts of Orissa. Using several symbols and meanings, Saura paintings comprise of a set of sketches elaborately drawn on their earthen walls. Most of the time it is hard for an outsider to understand or define the symbolic meaning of original Saura paintings that include two dimensional unique motif of human beings, horse, elephant, sun, moon, etc.

Mr. Patnaik added that these paintings are unique as they use basic five shapes, five lines and five basic vegetative colours. Another speciality of these paintings is that in these paintings there is no major physical differentiation in the form of males and females as in tribal community both males and females have equal status.

Despite training under experts, tribal participants like Sukuli Sabar and Pramodini Majhi said they were no match for their mothers and grandmothers in villages in drawing these paintings. “It seems we are still lacking the passion that they have for these ritualistic paintings,” Sebati Sabar another participant of the workshop said.


  • Saura tribals are the oldest tribes of India
  • Saura paintings are unique as they use basic five shapes and five lines


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