Pattachitra

India is a melting pot of a wide range of culture and heritage, which is unique to each of its regions that extend across its vast expanse. With much pride, India is the birthplace of a plethora of dance forms, literature, clothing and especially various spectacular art forms. Indian art consists of a variety of forms, including painting, sculpture, woven textiles etc. One such unique art form is called- Pattachitra which is native to the eastern state of Odisha.

Pattachitra evolved from Sanskrit where Patta means cloth and Chitra means painting, hence, it is predominantly a form of painting done on cloth.

Believed to have originated as early as the 12th century, it is a form of art which is closely related to the Shri Jagannath and the temple traditions of Puri. Almost all of the artisans called Chitrakar hail from Raghurajpur, which is a small artisan village in the outskirts of the temple city of Puri. It has about 150 homes that are arranged in a single row on either side of the 12 temples that stand in the middle. 

The Chitrakars follow a traditional process of preparing the canvas where, a gauze-like fine cotton cloth is coated with white stone powder and gum of the kaitha tree is used as a base for making different pigments, by adding available raw materials. For instance, to get the shade of white, powdered conch shells are used.

Pattachitra is predominantly an icon painting. Some of the popular themes of this religious art are The Badhia (a depiction of the temple of Jagannath); Krishna Lila (an enactment of Jagannath as Lord Krishna displaying his powers as a child) but over the years the art form has evolved and has experienced discernible changes. Motifs have changed over the years to fit modern concepts where the Tree of Life, folk-village scenes, flora and fauna are found popular. 

Some common motifs found in this art form are the Tree of Life which has been an esoteric symbol and it symbolises positivity across the different philosophies of life. Other motifs are tribal art which portray the variety of tribal lief such as dance, culture and civilisation. These motifs are also featured in the Art and Impact exhibition.

The vibrant and meticulous attributes of Pattachitra art makes it ever appealing to each eye and truly stands out as one of the most exquisite art forms of India. 

These unprecedented times resulted in the disruption of businesses and artisan across the spectrum have felt the effect of the resultant downturn. But anyone who came in the pandemic and shopped from the artisans waved a thread of hope.

In the spirit of supporting these artists and their art, Art and impact is hosting an exhibition called ‘Utkala’ (Utkal-Odisha, Kala-art), art from Odisha where we shall be showcasing their art.

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