Impressions of Rajasthan

Traditional Art

Years of practice has enabled him to perfect the art of traditional Pichwai painting, which is famous in Rajasthan. “Even the paint and pigment I use are traditional, extracted painstakingly from coloured stones and minerals. We Rajasthanis take immense pride in our culture and  history and our art strongly reflects this,” he says.

Soni’s paintings are vivid impressions of the festivals and celebrations of the region. They also reflect the artist’s veneration of the religion, as well as the rituals and customs of the land and its people. Painted on textiles, his ‘Pichwais’ are, in fact, a ritual art form, brilliant in colour, often adorning the walls of temples, used in places of statues and idols or as offerings to the deities. Most of Soni’s paintings revolve around Krishna in the form of Srinath.

“From Gopastami that takes place after Diwali to a combination of six festivals (like Maharasa and Sharat Purnima), various episodes of Srinath such as the ‘raas-leela’ and the Nathdwara temple festivities are portrayed in my Pichwais,” he explains. Finely detailed with beautiful intricate borders, the colours and rich details reflect the old historical and religious imagery of the state.

One painting has 24 faces and forms of Srinath in it while another depicts him standing in a lotus pond. Cows, flowers, lotuses, dancing women, playful ‘gopikas’, priests and the many faces of Krishna are all there in his paintings in varied detail.

“I inherited these skills in my DNA almost by virtue of being born to the family of the renowned miniature Guru Badrilala Chitrakar of Bhilwara. Under his exacting tutelage, I spent my entire childhood, learning the intricate skills of miniature art. From making colours with minerals, vegetables, precious stones, metals, conch shells and indigo to the meticulous manner of making brushes with fine squirrel hair,” he explains. The exhibition is on at the Renaissance Gallerie.

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