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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.

Our Art Workshops!

Art and Impact conducted several sessions with students of Lotus Petal Foundation, teaching them engaging art and crafts.

The classes were conducted online for students of Vidyananda School at the Lotus Petal Foundation.

Paper Snowflake Craft with the Students of Grade 3

In the first session led by Anhiti, children from Grade 3 were taught a simple craft technique of making beautiful paper snowflakes, which could be used for decorating purposes. The craft supplies required were simply paper and scissors that are easily accessible. Use of recycled/ recyclable paper was encouraged making the activity sustainable and eco-friendly.

The consequent sessions led by Kaynaat and Vanya our volunteers, again combined art with sustainability. Children from Grade 4 and 5 were taught how to recycle old newspaper and other waste materials to make colourful collages and were given creative freedom to express themselves through it. They were also taught how to make a drawing of a fish and were taught how to use different colourful sections of the newspaper such as pictures, objects and animations , cutting them into little pieces and sticking them to different sections of their drawing. The children were extremely  reciprocative and enthusiastic about the activities conducted, making the sessions productive, enthusiastic and successful!

Paper Scraps Craft with Students of Grade 4
Paper Scraps Craft with Students of Grade 5

Chitrakars

Meet Our Pattachitra Artisans

Art and Impact is collaborating with two remarkable artists who work with their cell of artisans and family, creating beautiful pieces of Pattachitra paintings. Through them Art and Impact is connected with more artists like them who are doing similar work, helping many generate revenue during these difficult times where tourism is low as another devastating effect of the pandemic.

Kumar Barikim

Pattachitra is a sense of pride for all of its artisan communities, much like for Bijay Kumar Barikim, who is a third-generation family member to be involved with this art form. His family members as well as several apprentices work with him to chum out beautiful pieces of art. He is well-renowned in his village and has has received the prestigious Prafulla Dahanukar Art Foundation Gold Medal for his outstanding work.

Another famous artist Aprindra Swain, hails from a family who has been involved with palm-leaf engraving for generations, began his own journey at the tender age of 10. He underwent a formal training by GOI in Bhubaneshwar and was identified by Dastakar to put up a month long exhibition at NIFT Delhi. He was later invited by them and Dastakari Haat Samiti for their exhibition which brought his art lots of recognition and repute. He is one artist who is trying to juxtapose his traditional art into modern artefacts such as kettles, bottles, leather purses and experiments with new styles, such as adding calligraphy to his art. 

Apindra Swain

He has also been a pioneer in changing his paintings to depict the lifestyle changes that came with the onset of the pandemic and thus, helped in raising awareness about it. He painted unique pictures where his figures were seen wearing a mask and his works spread the message of washing hands regularly. He was also recognised by the Postal Department and was requested to make his artwork as a depiction of the work of Postal Department and postmen during the pandemic. 

For these artisans, their art is a source of much pride and is close to their heart. Their contribution is not only keeping Indian traditions alive but also upholding modern concepts. Their adaptation to the pandemic and endeavours to raise awareness about the same is laudable. Their intense passion is kept alive by passing it on to the future generations, making it an undying art form. 

2021, Continuing the Impact

While we can all say 2020 was probably the worst year for most of us, the struggle continued onto 2021, be it new variants of the virus, lockdown or instability in the lives of people in general. However even as the pandemic continued to haunt all our lives, art and impact was working hard to do its part in providing COVID relief even in 2021. Art and Impact sells artwork made both by Indian craftsmen and artists and the students who volunteer for the organization since 2017. And in 2021, Art and Impact in collaboration with The Lotus Petal Foundation did its part in curbing the effect of the pandemic by raising ₹8,400 by selling artwork.

These funds went to the cause of supporting the education of underprivileged children in such challenging times through the online schooling programme ( by donating a digital device) initiative and hence all the funds raised were utilised to purchase devices for the digital education of underprivileged children which not only changed their educational path for the upcoming unpredictable times but also changed their lives. Not only does Art and Impact continue to raise funds for charitable causes, helping those not as lucky as some of us but it also provides buyers of the artwork with something that enriches homes and makes whitewashed walls beautiful and exciting.  And due to these efforts made by us, Art and Impact went on to receive an award from The Lotus Petal Foundation for our wonderful work with them on their felicitation ceremony on Volunteer’s Day 2021.  

 Felicitation Ceremony on Volunteers Day 2021

Our Impact in 2020

COVID-19 came unexpectedly into all our lives and befouled it with no one not being saved from its ‘wrath’ and as we reach the pandemic’s two-year anniversary in our country, we see the clear inequalities that it has exposed and brought out. While all of us were adversely affected by the global pandemic in one way or the other, no one was more hurt than the population of our country who lies below the poverty line or are less fortunate than some of us. One of the worst hit parts of society during the time of the pandemic was that of communities of laborers and low wage or daily wage earners who are the humblest, people who are the salt of the earth but also happen to be sadly, the most vulnerable. Hence, to help those who are less fortunate than us, Art and Impact in collaboration with The Lotus Petal Foundation had organized a Community Feed Program by contributing ₹3,000 on the 15th May 2020.

Another section of society which was hurt by the Pandemic is that of Underprivileged school-going kids, Covid had forced the government to shut schools down and while those students who could afford tablets, laptops, or any other device on which online classes can be attended continued to learn as the pandemic went on through Zoom. However, those who did not have the ability to purchase these pricey devices could not attend school or even learn which led to rising problems of – illiteracy, child labor and child marriage during the pandemic which is disappointing. So, to do their part in curbing the effects of the pandemic on school going children Art and Impact supported the cause of education during the pandemic by raising and donating ₹7,500 to Lotus Petal Foundation on July 15th, 2020, in support of the online school (purchase of digital device) initiativeunder the leadership of Anhiti Mandal. Art and Impact continues to cope with the pandemic’s ill effects on different groups of society.

A tablet being given to Amrish, a 5th Grader who had recently joined the school Art and Impact is collaborating with from Art and Impact.

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