Kolkata: The Bengal Government has been taking a lot of steps to help the traditional patachitra artistes of Bengal.
Patachitra is a form of art which presents paintings on scrolls or flat canvases depicting mythological tales or narrating current events. A unique aspect of this art form is that it is not just that the paintings are presented, but the artiste also sings songs to describe the events depicted. Patachitra artistes have been traditional fares at fairs across rural Bengal for centuries.
The State Government has also been educating the artistes about the need to make their art form hum in tune with the times.
Artistes are now making patachitra paintings on various articles of clothing, like on shirts, kurtas, dhotis, sarees, hand fans and even on umbrellas. Some sarees may have the full story of the Ramayana or just aspects of it or indigenous folk tales, like the story about a marriage of fishes.
According to an artiste, the State Government has been doing a lot to spread awareness about the art form across the country. He said that because of the opportunities being provided, he has been able to go to three states to sell his creations. He also raised another important point about the preservation of the art form – that the songs which the artistes sing while presenting their paintings also needs to be preserved; this is the way to comprehensively preserve the art form.
The government has also been sending delegations of patachitra artistes to various exhibitions and fairs in other countries.