Coronavirus | Heritage crafts village in Odisha wears a deserted look
Uncertain about their future, Pattachitra artists want virtual platform to sell paintings
- Residents of this tiny Odisha village would greet tourists with open arms and invite each one of them to pay a quick visit to their house for appreciating intricate paintings done on strips of cotton cloth.
- Tourists, the foundation of livelihood for 140-odd families of Raghurajpur, are no longer welcomed.
- The heritage crafts village that was often teeming with visitors has fallen silent. COVID-19 pandemic has robbed the livelihood of the artists here.
- Making of Pattachitras, traditional paintings in which mythological, religious stories and folk lore are told through intricate canvasing, has been principal vocation of most villagers here. On an average, an artist sells paintings worth ₹15,000 to ₹20,000 per month – enough to lead a simple life in the village.
- The paintings’ trade had recently picked up after it was badly impacted by last year’s cyclone Fani that had spoiled many artworks.
- Villagers want an online platform through which their paintings could be sold and tourists may not come physically to buy products. In this way we can compensate the loss of productive days.
- Pattachitra or Patachitra is a general term for traditional, cloth-basedscroll painting, based in the eastern Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal.
- Pattachitra artform is known for its intricate details as well as mythological narratives and folktales inscribed in it. Pattachitra is one of the ancient artworks of Odisha Pattachitras are a component of an ancient Bengali narrative art, originally serving as a visual device during the performance of a song.
- In the Sanskrit language, "Patta" literally means "cloth" and "Chitra" means "picture". Most of these paintings depict stories of Hindu deities.
- The paintings of Orissa 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'.
- The theme of Odia painting centres round the Jagannath and the Vaishnava sect. Since beginning of Pattachitra culture, Lord Jagannath who was an incarnation of Lord Krishna has been the major source of inspiration.
- Traditionally the painters are known as chitrakars. Woman members prepare the glue, the canvas and apply colours what we call the fill-in, and give the final lacquer coating.
- The master hand, mostly the male member, draws the initial line and gives the final finishing.
- Patta paintings are done on small strips of cotton cloth. The canvas is prepared by coating the clothing with a mixture of chalk and gum made from tamarind seeds.
- Then it is rubbed by taking the help of two different stones and then the cloth is dried. The mixture of gum and chalk gives the cloth's surface a leathery finish on which the artists paint with vegetable, earth and stone colours.