'Religion should not be used in politics'

Madhubani works

Inspired by mythology, Indian history and contemporary politics, Santosh Das has been working with Madhubani art form that originated in Mithila, present day Bihar. Madhubani style of painting traditionally focuses on the festival and events around the year. Das used to paint keeping this tradition in mind for a decade. It was after this that he felt a need for change; he went to Baroda to study fine arts and came back to his own style of painting, but with a twist.

Inspired by Ganga Devi, one of the most celebrated Madhubani artists, he discovered the power of line, which he explored in his works once he came back.

He has painted series on Krishna, Kali, Buddha but he is also fascinated by life in general and has a series on umbrellas. Apart from routine life and mythology, contemporary historical events like the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, the Godhra riots in 2002 and the 2014 election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been covered by Das through his Madhubani art. He strictly believes that one should not choose a god or a religion for one’s political motives. He questioned “How could the Hindu God Ram feel happy on seeing innocent Muslim children being butchered under the guise of religion? A new Hindutava has been coined under political agenda and this is very different from the core philosophy of Hinduism.”

“Religion should not be used in politics,” Das shared with Metrolife. All these themes have been explored in his artworks.

“It is important that we connect the contemporary issues to art. In fact, I have some young people learning and working with Madhubani art form on issues like atrocities on women in contemporary times, the political scenario right now and many other burning issues,” Das says.

His Krishna series, on display at ‘Satrangi’ exhibition, is one of the series closest to his heart and brought him back to Madhubani art form as well.

The exhibition is on till August 31 at Ojas Art, Mehrauli.

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