Wednesday, June 16

Kolkata: From theme to idol, women design festive plans

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This year several Durga Puja organisers have engaged women artists to depict the homecoming of the goddess.

While organisers of Ajeyo Sanhati Club in Haridevpur have invited women artists from Hazaribag in Jhrakhand to adorn the pandal with sohrai and khovar painting, Joyrampur Sarbojanin in Behala has placed their faith in a student of Government College of Art and Craft to depict Devi — celebration of self.

“I have attempted to depict several facets of Durga from an ordinary homemaker to the vanquisher of all evils,” said Upasona Chatterjee, who is working at the theme and idol at Joyrampur Sarbojonin in Behala. “The Devi avatar is portrayed with visual cohesion of various cosmic life forms,” said the third-year student of Government College of Art and Craft.

At Bhawanipur Sarbojanin, painter and visual artist Poulami Guha is working with an all-women team to depict peace and prosperity through lotus flower. “Lotus is offered to the goddess in Durga Puja. It is considered to be auspicious and sacred. Though it flourishes in muddy waters it retains its purity,” said Guha.

Like the ten hands of Durga unite to defeat evil every year, seven pairs of hands united this year to defy patriarchal norms and create a beautiful pandal embroidered with sohrai and khovar painting at Ajeyo Sanhati Club.

The special story about the women artisans that only married women can do the sohrai and khovar painting, the art is being passed on generation by generation. Sohrai and khovar are one of the oldest forms of wall painting in the world which started in the form of cave painting since 10,000-4000 BC and continued as painting in mud wall.

“When I was 12 years old my mother taught me to paint, but I wasn’t allowed to paint. I’m glad to participant and paint in the Puja,’’ said 34-year-old Parvati Devi

Materials used for painting are different kinds of mud, which they use to paint walls. They use comb to make a special type of artistry in marriage ceremony to symbolize a new beginning. “We felt very honoured when they invited us to showcase our work in Durga Puja, as it’s an old form of painting. Recently we are teaching this form of art to men also,’’ said 46-year-old Rudran Devi.


Source: Times of India

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