Madhubani, Kalamkari, and a 14-year old girl

The eastern form of art – paintings, sculptures, music – finds its prominence in the history-old folklore of India. Two of the prominent forms – Madhubani and Kalamkari – are world-renowned because of their detailed attention to intricacies. However, it is ironical that most of our populace doesn’t cherish the cultural significance of such art forms.
At 14, when most of her peers are dribbling between school, books, tuitions, Kamakshi Gupta, a ninth-grade student of Modern School, Barakhamba Road, has not toed the line of others. Her focus at such a tender age is on the folk tradition of the country, which somehow has eroded with the tides of time.
The 23-steps Kalamkari form of art has its etymological roots in modern-day Odisha, Nepal and other parts of India. Meanwhile, Madhubani artform’s roots can be traced by to a place called Madhubani in the Mithila region of Bihar. Originally practised with powdered rice on freshly plastered mud walls, today it’s globally known as one of the best forms of wall paintings. This art form has been transformed using contemporary techniques; it is made on cloth, canvas and handmade paper.

Take for instance, a piece of artwork showing Lord Krishna killing the demonic Snake king – Kaaliya Nag. Sketched using a myriad selection of colours, the event of such mythological significance comes alive with Kamakshi’s painting. Showcasing the different human desires in form of multiple snake heads, the colour scheme used by her is extremely vivid.

The Indian government, independent art associations – both national and international – and the art-loving people of this country has been taking giant strides over the past few years. Even start-ups such as iMithila are working with local artisans, of which 80 per cent are women, to take the Madhubani art form forward.

Kamakshi has achieved some success in her association with the artforms. It is nothing short of a brave thing for her to at any age where people choose different hobbies and passions. But the school should also be given the due credit behind her achievements. The school and her teachers are to be praised for recognising the talent in her at such an early age, and polishing it to bring out the best in her. It was this encouragement and support of her school that helped her creative dreams take flight.

One of her creative flight will be put on a show titled “The Myriad Hues of Madhumani,” a painting exhibition slated at the Convention Foyer of the India Habitat Centre on December 13-14. The exhibition will be open to viewers from 10 am to 8 pm.

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