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Folk Painting

Phad Painting of Rajasthan

Phad Painting, Rajasthan

Phad painting of Rajasthan, is one of them and this particularly stand out for its unique history , origin and the efforts put into its revival. Its a style of religious scroll painting that narrates the local stories of deities and gods. The painting can be unfolded or unrolled after sunset in front of the village for the performance in the night.This is why it is called ‘phad’ which means ‘fold’ in the local dialect.

The Phad display the heroic exploits of goods and many Rajput worrior. Characters of the paintings are Devnarayanji( a reincarnation of Vishnu) and Pabuji( a local hero).There are communities involved in making and narrating of the painting; they have priest singers of the Rabari tribe, called Bhopas and Bhopi. Phad paintings is done by Joshi community of Bhilwara in Rajasthan. The themes, usually depicting historic tales of Rajput chieftains are painted on long cloth lengths.

All Phad paintings have certain common features. Every available inch of the canvas is crowded with figures. Another similarity is flat construction of the pictorial space. While the figures are harmoniously distributed all over the area, the scale of figure depends on the social status of the character they represent and the roles they play in the story. Another interesting feature is that the figures in the paintings always face each other instead of the viewer. These paintings in their traditional form are very wide to accommodate the numerous episodes of the complex stories.

Making Process

Phad artist needs to be extremely skilled for doing this complex painting, it can take between a few weeks to a few months to complete an artwork.

Paintings are created on hand woven coarse cotton cloth which is soaked overnight thicken the threads. It is then stiffened with starch from rice or wheat flour stretched, dried in the sun and rubbed with a moonstone stone smoothen the surface and give it a sheen. The entire process of making a Phad painting is completely natural. The artist mix water to colours before applying to the cloth.

Each colour is used for specific purpose-yellow for creating the initial outline and in ornamental and clothing, orange for limbs and the torso, green trees and vegetables, brown for architectural structures, red for royal clothing and flags as well as a thick border, and blue for water or curtains. Black is applied at the end as outlines. The eyes- the most important detail in the painting is added last. Once the eye portion is done it becomes alive and then its ready to worship.

Raw Materials And Tools

For the making of this unique painting they use thirty feet long and five feet wide cotton cloth.There colour palette is full of natural vegetable colours. They use lamp during the narration of the painting. They consist of red, yellow, blue, green, orange, brown, black derived from the stones and the mineral. The colours are prepared by the women artisans while the preparation of the canvas through applications of starch and kheriya gond (indigenous glue) and ghotana (burnishing) is done by men.


Mainly the phad painting is the main product of this craft. But due to less consumption of this product from the costumers the artisans have blended it with other traditions and are using it on apparels etc and making the same painting characters on the sarees, curtains, bedsheets.etc. Basically the textile sector where they have cloth as the base medium.

Madhubani Paintings from Mithila : Bidyanath Jha – Madhubani Art

Bidyanath Jha, born in 1947, is one of the senior and respected Mithila artists from Madhubani, Bihar. Master artist Bidyanath Jha learned painting from his elder sister Bachoudi Devi. He was in his 20s when tragedy struck his family, forcing him to look for livelihood. With his two sisters Bachoudi and Lakshmi Devi, Bidyanath’s mother and aunt has created exquisite Madhubani art on their walls. He practices Godhna and Tantrik style of painting. He was a Guru in Nabard Bank’s training initiative. He has also trained SHG members on Madhubani painting. He has visited Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Surat to showcase his paintings in exhibitions and fairs.

Vidyanath ji’s son Krishna Kumar Jha is a state awardee in Kalanand Art Contest of Prafulla Dahanukar Art Foundation in 2016.

Bengal Pattachitra , West Bengal : Suman Chitrakar and Rupsona Chitrakar

Suman Chitrakar (32 yrs) and Rupsona Chitrakar (24 yrs) are a young Patua Artist couple from Nayagram village of West Bengal practicing Bengal Patachitra- Scroll Painting.

Suman started painting at the age of twenty with his mentor Jaideep Chitrakar.
Suman carries the lineage of ‘folk’ artists who paint long vertical scrolls and compose verses. He
creates figurative works. His artwork has been featured in two books – one on Bono Bibi of the
Sunderbans and another on the life of Savitribai Phule published by Azim Premji University.
Recently Suman Chitrakar grabbed the attention of the British audience participating in an
inspirational exhibition ‘Gods and Demons’ which was an initiative by India’s West Bengal government Biswa Bangla in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and
London’s Nehru Centre in May 2016. After a glorious week in London, the artist conducted live
demonstrations and workshops at the Museum of Edinburgh and at the opening weekend of the
Southside Fringe festival at Art Village in Glasgow.
Rupsona’s family is into this art so she picked it up when she was very young. She has worked
extensively with her father Bahadur Chitrakar. Rupsona is particularly known for her santhal pats– which depict the lives and mythologies of the santhal tribe. Her works have tribal motifs — with long, thin slender figures. Rupsona has taken her work to cultural events at Kolkata, Delhi, Goa
and recently conducted a workshop and exhibited her works in Denmark.

Cherial Art form from Telangana : D.Nageshwar and D. Saikiran , Father -son duo

Dhanalokata Sai Kiran Nakashi & D Nageshwar Rao Nakash

Dhanalokata Sai Kiran Nakashi and D Nageshwar Rao Nakash . Sai Kiran , the son of state award winners D. Nageshwar and D. Padma, hails from Rangareddy district Telangana. Sai Kiran learnt this art form from his grandfather and father- D Nageshwar Rao Nakash , a Cherial scroll painting expert. He studied Fine Arts from Sri Venkateshwara College of Fine Arts, Madhapur. He later chose to carry on with his family tradition of Cherial Scroll Painting and Mask Making. He is the fourth generation in this artistic family. Sai Kiran started conducting workshops at the age of 17 years and that was when he was noticed by Surabhi Vani Devi, daughter of late P V Narasimha Rao, Former Prime Minister of India. She offered him a seat at the Osmani University in Hyderabad, in Fine Arts, which further improved his skills. Sai Kiran’s specialisation was painting and murals. This 400-year-old art form will die with his father if he doesn’t carry it on.

To get a mass appeal for the art, Sai Kiran started doing utility items to attract the attention of people. He started with key chains, tissue boxes, pen holders, spectacle holders and small forms of the mask, which can be used as wall decorations, apart from the traditional art.