Blooming Flower: Sohrai painting by Rukmani Devi

Artist : Rukmani Devi
Size : Medium
Dimensions : H-3.2 W-2ft I H-38 W-24 inches
Medium : Natural Colors on Handmade Paper

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Rukmani Devi

Prajapati artist Rukmani Devi is a member of the pottery crafting community, she preserves the Prajapati Khovar painting traditions that her mother and mother-in-law passed down to her. Rukmani's unique style is best recognised in her brilliant tree of life paintings and murals. Rukmani Devi is a Prajapati artist from the pottery crafting clan who preserves the particular Prajapati Khovar painting traditions passed down through her mother and mother-in-law. A distinctive stylist, Rukmani is particularly known for her luminous tree of life paintings and murals. At the invitation of the Australian Museum, she was selected as one of four tribal women artists who visited Australia for a month. As part of her exhibition at the Djamu Gallery, Sydney, she displayed her skills in creating large murals on board of 6' x 12’, as well as permanent ground alpana. A sample of her work can be found in the Australian Museum, Sydney, and her 'Tree of Life with Mandala' is on display at the Brisbane Art Gallery in Queensland, Australia.

Art Form


The name ‘Sohrai’ is said to have derived from a paleolithic age word—‘soro’, meaning to drive with a stick. One of the oldest art forms of wall painting, this tribal art has continued since 10,000-4,000 BC.  Sohrai Painting is a folk painting tradition that is mostly practised in Jharkhand's villages. Traditionally, during the Sohrai holiday, which falls just a day after the Hindu celebration of Diwali, women of the household paint on the mud walls of their homes. The art has two major stylistic divisions based on the marriage and harvest seasons. Traditionally, Sohrai paintings are linked to the winter harvest of crops in Jharkhand. These paintings, whether monochromatic or colourful, are entirely created with natural pigments mixed in mud—Kali matti (maganese black), Duddhi matti/Charak matti (white mud), Lal matti/Geru (red oxide), and Pila matti (yellow ochre). The people apply a layer of white mud to the wall, and while the white layer is still wet, they draw on it with their fingertips, broken comb pieces, or chewed saal wood tooth-sticks (datwan). The designs are also created with cloth swabs daubed in various earth colours.