The reader, Kalighat Art by Bapi Chitrakar
Size : Small
Dimensions : H: 0.98(ft) by W: 0.7(ft) | H: 11.69(in) by W: 8.27(in)
Medium : Natural Colors on Paper
Bapi Chitrakar, has been painting for many years since he was a child and this art has been in his family for generations. In West Bengal, the word chitrakar refers to patachitra painters and the artists there have taken Chitrakar as their last name for hundreds of years.
The Bengal Pattachitra is a visual and oral art tradition practised by the Patuas or Chitrakars of West Bengal. Islamic by faith, Patua artists represent a unique and secular art tradition. They earn their livelihood by telling stories from Hindu Mythology, local folklores, Sufi tradition and contemporary themes through paintings and songs. Though the origin of the Patua tradition has been difficult to trace for art historians, some claim the oral form goes back all the way to the 10th or 11th century CE. The physical evidence of a scroll, however, only makes an appearance in the 18th century CE.
The Kalighat paintings developed in the 19th century in the Bengal presidency. The travelling scroll painters or the patuas had been practising folk art of Pattachitra. The new manners and customs of the British settlers, the revivalist exercises of the Mughal and theatres as well as the use of Sanskrit on stage was absorbed by the rural artists who had migrated to Calcutta and developed it into a popular urban genre. The period of Kalighat paintings coincides with the age of mechanical reproduction in the form of woodcut, lithography, oleography and printing. These developments had caused mass consumption of imagery in the urban cities and Kalighat was a response to it. The Kalighat painters interacted with the colonial paintings and began the use of water colours, shaded figures, folio-sized mill made papers. They absorbed the role of the western theatre performances and the art schools which developed the unique stylistic features of the Kalighat paintings as we know them today. More here on our blog.