Art of the matter

Why study of traditional art and craft forms needs to be included in the curriculum at various levels

November 24, 2021 09:42 am | Updated November 25, 2021 05:47 pm IST

The traditional art of Pattachitra is used as a visual narrative during the performance of a song.

The traditional art of Pattachitra is used as a visual narrative during the performance of a song.

The modernisation in Visual Art involves allowing a creative mind to perform from its inner sense of art rather than create on the basis of certain established definitions. This inner sense is not only that of an individual but also involves the culture of the region. As a result, the modern era of art focuses on connecting to the regional or traditional art and craft forms. Art education institutions have a role to play in spreading awareness of art forms and their connections with culture.

Art education includes both research and teaching. Some forms like Rajput miniature painting can be learnt not just in the place where they originated but also at academic institutes through lectures, workshops and demonstrations Whereas Patua or Pattachitra, which involve painting and music, may not be practised beyond its region. This may require talk shows or field-based tours to understand the heritage and link to the area it is practised in.

Beyond the theory

Teaching of such traditional art forms should be made part of the curriculum. Going beyond the theory, exposure must come from study tours to specific heritage sites, trips to art exhibitions and museums, workshops and lec-dems from practising artists.

At the undergraduate level, this can be sustained at higher levels and for longer duration. Students can be asked to produce at least one research paper on the arts from their region each year. Postgraduate students could be asked to intern under one/group of artists, which will allow them to learn more about the methodology, medium, materials that the art form requires and also the techniques and details involved in its practice.

Several leading artists and academicians have proposed the implementation of a practice-based-PhD programme at the doctorate level of Art Studies. Whether a general theoretical programme or practice-based one, implementation of serious studies in traditional art forms and their relevance in the contemporary world will help spread awareness of the roots of creativity from across the country.

The writer is an Assistant Professor, School of Visual Arts, World University of Design

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