The Story of Pattachitra

Pattachitra style of painting is one of the oldest and most popular art forms practiced majorly in Odisha and West Bengal.  The Pattachitra artists also known as the Chitrakars, predominantly made icon paintings based on the Hindu mythology. The paintings of Odisha can be divided into three categories from the point of view of medium, i.e. paintings on cloth or ‘Patta Chitra’, paintings on walls or ‘Bhitti Chitra’ and palm leaf engravings or “Tala Patra Chitra’ or “Pothi, Chitra’

Bengal Patachitra painting has a different type of motive and aspects that unrolled the Bengali culture. Using the mythological epic and the natural color, it is one of the individual characteristics of the Bengal Patachitra. Bengal Patua artists carry the occupational surname of ‘Chitrakar’. They are concentrated in the village of Naya in Medinipur district of West Bengal

Pattachitras are painted in five natural colors – Hingula, Haritala, Kala, Sankha and Geru. There are typical scenes and figures like Krishna, Gopis, elephants, trees and other creatures are seen in these paintings. Krishna is always painted in blue and Gopis in light pink, purple or brown colors.

Before painting, the artists prepare the canvas or the “patta” by coating the cloth with a mixture of chalk and gum. This mixture is then rubbed into the cloth using two different stones. Finally, the cloth is dried. Pattachitra is a disciplined form of art and come with a set of rules and restrictions. A floral border is a must in Pattachitra paintings, and so is the use of natural colors, restricting them to a single tone. This creates a distinct look and feel that is typical to Pattachitra and cannot be replicated.

OUR  ARTISANS ­–  Rohim & Minu Chitrakar , Both husband and wife are from Pingla in Paschim Mednipur, West Bengal. Their art is a treat for the eye as their paintings in fabric come alive on pots, sarees, paper and cloths. The dream of the family is to keep the tradition of painting alive as their son Nabi, presently studying at 9 is also pursuing the same art. Let us all strive to keep their dreams alive

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