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Madhubani & traditional tattoo artists face financial constraints

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Press Trust of India Jitwarpur (Bihar)
Artists of the world-renowned Madhubani paintings or 'Mithila painting' and the traditional tattoo art form called Godhna are facing financial distress.
Bihar's Jitwarpur village is famous for its Mithila paintings, which are known for its bright, vibrant colours, lively figures and minute details, and has received the status of the 'craft village' recently. In this village, one may find an artist in almost every household.
Asha Devi, daughter-in-law of Padma Shri Sita Devi, a pioneer of Mithila paintings, plays a major role today in keeping this traditional art form alive.
"People from France, Germany and Japan used to visit the village, and the artists were paid well for their hardwork," she told PTI.
But after the art form gained popularity, Asha Devi says the middlemen started buying the paintings for a lesser price and sold it at a higher rate in metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi.
She urged the government to open a national-level sale-purchase unit in the village so that the artists could get their due recognition, fame and price for the hardwork they put in making the paintings.
She, however, adds a silver lining, saying many well-known designers have been visiting the region lately, with the growing trend of paintings and other art form on clothing.
The village is also known for its traditional tattoo paintings. Late Rowdi Paswan along with his wife Chano Devi not only carried forward the Mithila paintings, but also established the traditional tattoo paintings (Godhna) and took it to a new direction giving it a new look and style.
This traditional tattoo form is not only restricted to this village, but has spread across the region and has been transferred from generation to generation.
In Mithila's feudal society, this art form has given freedom and social justice to the women, and has also helped in overcoming barriers of caste-divide spread across the region.
Mahanma Devi, the daughter-in-law of late Chano Devi, is now taking the tradition forward. A national awardee, she says, that the art form has no proper channel of distribution, sale and purchase.
These paintings depict life events like birth, marriage and festivals through eye-catching geometrical patterns. Natural colour from leaves, flowers and fruits are used.
Though, Jitwarpur village with almost 800 families is only known for its 'mithila paintings', the traditional 'tattoo paintings' also has deep-roots and is growing with time.

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First Published: Apr 29 2019 | 8:55 PM IST

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