Noteworthy Meena Artists and Researchers: From Meena Villages to Global Galleries

It has been widely acknowledged within practitioners and enthusiasts of Mandana art that Meena artists of Rajasthan have an upper hand when it comes to this geometrically intricate art form. Transmitted across generations both orally and by close one-on-one mentorship, Mandana art is unique in the fact that all its keepers are women. We at MeMeraki, have curated a list of noteworthy artists from the Meena community for better comprehension: 


1. Kaushalya Devi Sharma

Our first artist needs no introduction –- Distinct by her stately figure calmly sketching white chalk on red canvases, Kaushalya Devi (73 years old now) has painted over a hundred Mandana designs of her own volition and imagination! Learning the craft at a young age from the women around her, Sharma recalls a time when mud walls of houses, thresholds, cooking places, shrines, and so on would be decked with auspicious Mandana symbols. Now, at an age where the very surface of homes is changing, art seems to have transformed and transferred itself to other mediums. Her artistic output in this light has been one driven to conserve, create, and prolong Mandana’s legacy for posterity. So far, her thrilling journey continues on. 

Her son Jitendra Kumar is also actively involved in preserving his mother’s work. 


Kaushalya Devi: Noteworthy Mandana Artists
Source: Hindustan Times 


2. Vidya Devi Soni 

This 75-year-old woman hails from Bhilwara, Rajasthan has been practicing the Mandana art for over 65 years! Starting at the tender age of 10, her gurus were her father, Shri Badri Lal, and mother, Smt. Sumitra. Inspired by her own experiences and the society and environment around her, Soni’s Mandana style mirrors her reflections on the same. For her laudable efforts to conserve tribal expressions, she was awarded the National Merit Award in 2017. Her son Dinesh Soni practices both Meena and Pichhwai art.

If you're interested in learning the art of Mandana from Vidya ji, you can register for our Mandana Masterclass. This online course is a great opportunity to learn from a skilled and experienced artist and gain hands-on experience in creating traditional Mandana designs.


Vidya Devi Soni: Noteworthy Mandana Artists


3. Madan Meena

Madan Meena is a researcher whose curatorial work encompasses rural, nomadic, and tribal communities of North India, in particular Rajasthan. He has spent years researching, collecting, photographing, and recording Meena women artists across north India. Through his work, M. Meena has contributed to creating an archive of tribal narratives. His personal library holds around 100,000 photographs and over 500 Mandana artworks done by the Meena community!


Madan Meena: Noteworthy Mandana Artists


4. Sunita 

An illustrator by profession, Sunita has collaborated with various national publishing houses like Tara books and other international ones by promoting a distinct Meena art style in her work. Aimed at children and young adults alike, her artwork in books like Gobble You Up! and Rai Aur Chaunri carry playful and traditional tones. You can see the quintessential white geometric lines, dots, and curves that comprise a Mandana. Though printed by a machine, the book is in every sense of the word – a “handmade” product!


Sunita: Noteworthy Mandana Artists



Leave a comment