The world of Madhubani

Continuing traditionsVidushini’s Madhubani artworks  

As one enters Vidushini’s stall of paintings at the Sampoorn Santhe at the Manpho Centre, the first painting that catches the eye is a vertical frame depicting two owls on a branch. The painting is set in a rich, turqoiuse background while the bird forms are in black and white.

What’s so special about the painting is the fact that it strikes a delicate balance between simplicity and intricacy. While the shapes and outlines of the nature forms themselves are bold and discernible, they are filled with intricate lines and patterns that seem to undulate in a way that only Madhubani can, and are set off by the bright pop of turqoiuse in the background.

“In this exhibition, I am showcasing some of my intricate works in the Katchni style of Madhubani as well as my original style, where I have used colours in the background,” says Vidushini, a teacher-turned painter, whose works have been exhibited at galleries in the city including the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath and the Renaissance Gallery. She has also displayed her work at venues like Fort Kochi and is a regular at Eka Lifestyle, an artefact store.

She is an empanelled artist in the Central Cottage Emporium and the Ministry of Textiles and has been associated with Novika, a National Geographic portal that connects traditional artisans to a global marketplace, for nearly 12 years. She is also associated with the NGO, A Hundred Hands.

In her ongoing exhibition at the Santhe, she has worked with Madhubani’s most famous themes, depicting deities including Ganesha, and the Ardhanaraeeshwar, scenes from Indian mythology, Madhubani’s signature plant and animal forms including birds and fish and the much-loved ‘Tree of Life’.

“Though I retain the original style, I have a more contemporary approach to some of the forms, which have now become my signature style,” says Vidushini, whose interest in the folk art form was sparked off as a student of chemistry in Patna, while visiting art galleries in the city

“I create the artwork in the most traditional way, I don’t use markers or pens, I use a traditional nib with a holder. I find that even the most high-end markers cannot give the finesse that the traditional nibs give. At the same time, I ensure that my work is not just another reproduction of the traditional Madhubani format. I incorporate the double lining and intricate line work that goes into a Madhubani painting, but my work has a contemporary twist.”

This is discernible from the works on display featuring more modern forms of Ganesha, in more unusual three-colour palettes of black and white set against red. Her works flaunt bursts of colour, with bold, voluptuous forms that entice the viewer and draw them into their worlds.

After over a decade of working with the Maddhubani artform, she finds that she has developed an original style that can be attributed to her.

She would now like to exhibit her work in galleries around the country, she hopes to take her work abroad in the future.

Vidushini’s exhibition of Madhubani paintings (including notebooks, journals and framed artworks), will be on diplay at the Sampoorn Santhe at the Manpho Convention Centre, next to the Manyata Tech Park until June 25. For details, contact 9611569498.