‘Ekayan – Ek Sutra’ celebrates works of National Award-winning artists Manisha Jha, Prakash Joshi & J Niranjan

Art Tree recently hosted ‘Ekayan – Ek Sutra,’ a triple treat for art lovers on Madhubani, Phad and Chintz. A special preview of the 9-day exhibition was inaugurated by artist, filmmaker Muzaffar Ali

Manish Jha, Madhubani art show
Manish Jha, Madhubani art show
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Murtaza Ali Khan

Art Tree recently hosted ‘Ekayan – Ek Sutra,’ a triple treat for art lovers on Madhubani, Phad and Chintz. The special preview of the 9-day exhibition was inaugurated by artist, designer and filmmaker Muzaffar Ali at Bikaner House. The Umrao Jaan director said, “I am immensely impressed by all the rich history that gets depicted in such intricate works of the artists who are trying their best to preserve tradition that India is known for. It’s an educative experience for me to see such great works of these national award winning artists.”

‘Ekayan – Ek Sutra’ featured National Award-winning artists Manisha Jha (Madhubani), Prakash Joshi (Phad) and J.Niranjan (Kalamkari/Chintz). The founder of Art Tree, Pragati Agarwal, while reiterating her commitment to promoting traditional and folk arts, said, “Art Tree has always endeavoured to boost, support and encourage the sustenance of some of the enriching traditional forms that will eventually get revived and lead to their resurgence.”

As part of the exhibition, a panel discussion on ‘The Legacy and Revival of Chintz’ with artist J Niranjan and Indian handicrafts curator Jaya Jaitly and Sanjay Garg of Raw Mango was also held. During the discussion, Jaitly pointed out that the original nomenclature ‘Radhapani’ instead of the British named ‘Chintz’ should be used. She explained, “The British could not pronounce the original word ‘Chheent’ and so they changed it to ‘Chintz’ which is rather derogatory. I am so glad that an artist of Niranjan’s calibre is the one who has taken so much pain to revitalize and restore such a rare art form.”

Panel discussion on The Legacy and Revival of Chintz with artists
Panel discussion on The Legacy and Revival of Chintz with artists

On the occasion, Art Tree also organised a book launch of Manisha Jha’s book ‘Madhushravani,’ which took her fourteen years to document and features hundred paintings by two hundred women artists from different villages of Mithila. Madhushravani is a monsoon festival of new brides, laughter, snake goddesses, and rituals that fuse ecology and tradition. The thirteen days festival speaks of co-existence and instils love for nature. This book is first ever book on fourteen stories related to Lord Shiva and his family and stories of Goddess Manasa—the snake Goddess. Jha, who is an architect by profession, has contemporized the idiom of Madhubani Paintings. She is the first woman artist in India to document the oral narratives of Bihar, such as Madhushravani festival, Ramayan and Mahabharat as narrated in the villages across Mithila. She has been painting since last twenty-eight years and has done more than 70 shows in India and abroad.

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