Rajasthani arts in town

Rajasthani arts in town

Mythological link

Rajasthani arts in town

In the heart of cosmopolitan Delhi, discover a treasure of rich
Rajasthani folk arts at Arts of the Earth gallery in Lado Sarai. This gallery is exhibiting a host of paintings representing three ancient art forms of Rajasthan: Pichwai, Nathdwara and Tantric. All three relate to mythological tales surrounding Lord Krishna and are rare to find.

Arts of the Earth, in fact, came up three years back with the sole aim of preserving and promoting the folk, tribal and popular arts of India. Founder-director Meena Verma says, “I had always been interested in India’s folk art forms. Our country, being home to many states and cultures, has an astonishing variety of local art. Most of us, however, are not aware of it.”

“So far, I have held exhibitions on folk art forms from states like Karnataka, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra etc., but somehow Rajasthan had remained untouched. Therefore, I decided to give representation to Rajasthan this time. The
western state has many historically, culturally and mythologically rooted art forms and are a pleasure to see.”

The exhibition consists of 35 paintings – majorly Pichwai, some Nathdwara and the rest Tantric. Pichwai refers to a painting tradition that emerged in Nathdwara, a town in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan.

The word Pichwai derives from the Sanskrit words pich meaning back and wais meaning hanging. These paintings are cloth paintings hung behind the image of the Hindu god Shrinathji - the child manifestation of Lord Krishna. They depict cows, gopis, milkmaids, gardens, peacocks - basically all that was dear to the Lord.

The Nathdwara paintings, again from Nathdwara town, are paintings of Shrinathji himself. They are believed to have developed since the temple of Shrinathji was established here. It is recorded that to avoid the oppression of iconoclast Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, the idol of Shrinathji was installed in Nathdwara in 1670 by some priests from Mathura.

After this, many artists, including the famous Acharya Gopinathji, came and created paintings of Shrinathji here.

These paintings depict Shrinathji holding Govardhan hill on his small finger, and devotees praying to him. They are generally painted, but sometimes rich embroidery or appliqué work is used on the paintings. Enclosed in a dark border, rich colours like red, green, yellow, white and black are used, with a lot of gold decorating the figures.

For one painting, it takes three to four days to just prepare colour from pure gold. It adds charm as well as value to the artworks. Tantric paintings on the other hand depict Tantric symbols like the yantra of different gods and goddesses. You can catch this exhibition till March 10 at Arts of the Earth.