Daily Archives: April 1, 2012

Assorted art of Odisha

Away from the heart of metropolises, tribal people scattered all over India live in a world enriched with their peculiar culture and traditions. Exceptionally skilled and gifted, they are pioneers of a fascinating variety of arts and crafts. Their artworks speak volumes about their unmatchable aesthetic sense.

The tribesmen of Odisha, a region famed for its rich tribal culture, have given the place a distinctive cultural and ethnic identity. They hold the honour of boosting the art scene of the place by creating an array of folk painting styles. Guided by intuition and instinct, these talented tribesmen have preserved the art handed down to them by their predecessors.

Among the various painting styles of Odisha, the most prominent ones are:

Patachitras: This genre of painting is classical Odishi style, done on cloth. Before a piece of cloth is transformed into a work of art, artisans coat it with mud paste to make it sturdy and stiff. Once it is painted with motifs in vibrant colours, lacquer is applied on it to give it a fine finish and sheen.

Mostly used as wall hangings, patachitras reflect the vivid imagination of artists. However, a subject widely represented by many is tales from Rama and Krishna’s lives. Other religious themes commonly taken up are scenes from Rasa Lila, Vastra Haran, Kaliya Daman and images of Lord Jagannath.

Chitra Pothi: In this unique kind of art form, palm leaves (chitra pothi) are used for writing and painting. Termed as an indigenous tradition of Orissa, it is believed the skill of writing on palm leaves originated in the medieval period. After an artisan etches out a pattern or a script on a palm leaf with the help of an iron pen (lohankantaka), a paste made with tamarind seeds, oil and charcoal is carefully smeared on it.

The grooves in the leaf hold the solution and the excess is brushed off. The residue filled in grooves highlights the pattern or script distinctly. Often, the pattern is enhanced using bright vegetable and mineral colours.

Artisans often chose religious themes like the images of gods and scriptures from Mahabharata and Ramayana for showcasing their talent through this art. This style of painting is also done on small leaves which can later be used as book marks and greeting cards. The villagers of Raghurajpur and Dandasahi, near Bhubaneswar, are said to have kept alive this ancient art form.

Rock paintings: Evidences of rock paintings, traced in the western part of Odisha, deserve a special mention as studies suggest that they indicate the talents of pre-historic tribes. Paintings found in natural rock shelters at Ulapgarh and Vikram Khol in Sambalpur district, Manikmada and Ushakothi in Sundargarh district, Gudahandi and Yogimatha in Kalahandi district are noteworthy. The paintings done in horizontal, sequential pattern make use of geometrical and floral patterns and depict primitive tribesmen hunting, dancing and fighting.

It is observed that tribesmen used frayed ends of plant twigs to colour paintings with pigments derived from natural sources; they obtained red and brown hues from iron oxides, green from copper compounds and white from lime. It is hinted that the elaborate paintings must have been made by the predecessors of central India and western Orissa.

Saora painting: Among the many painting styles of Orissa, saora painting done by the Saora tribe is widely recognised. The distinctive style of making human figures with right angled triangles, as seen in their ethnic painting called Idital, lends it a unique touch. Traditionally depicting scenes from the routine lives of tribesmen, these paintings are commonly made on the walls of houses.

Curtains come down on Rourkela drama festival

A four-day theatre festival, organized on the occasion of World Theatre Day, ended here on Friday. Three theatre groups from the state and one from Kolkata participated in the festival and enthralled thousands of viewers.

The festival was organized by Samparka, a leading theatre organization of the state in collaboration with  Eastern Zonal Cultural Center (EZCC), Sangeet Natak Academy, Bhubaneswar, the department of culture, government of Odisha and the Rourkela Steel Plant. The event was kicked off with a road show in the town on World Theatre Day on March 27. Hundreds of artists and school and college students participated in it.

Samparka staged a play titled “Pathara” on the inaugural day night, written and directed by eminent theater personality  Bhaskar Mohapatra. On the second day, Pancamaveda, Bhubaneswar, staged “Kyabin”, written by eminent poet and politician  Prasana Patsani and directed by Haren Sahoo.

On the third evening, Sree Cultural Association of Sambalpur staged “Sir”, written by Ashis Kumar Sunar and directed by Satya Ranjan Behera. On the final day, Sabdha Mugdha Natya Kendra, Kolkata, staged a play titled “Shabjyotsna”, written and directed by  Rakesh Gosh.

A seminar on the present status of Odia theatre was organized on the opening day, where different experts shared their views. Braja Mohan Mishra, an eminent director and stage artist from Balangir, presided over it.

The speakers were of  the view that although several organizations of the state had been working all out to improve the standard of Odia theatre, the response has not been great.

Rourkela Steel Plant CEO G S Prasad attended the closing ceremony of the festival. He thanked Samparka, the Sangeet Katak Academy, the  state government and the EZCC for organizing the event.

New Rajya Sabha member A V Swamy stresses on consensus

During the time when Rajya Sabha polls in Jharkhand are tainted by horse-trading, Bhudan leader A V  Swamy has a word of advice to all aspirants.

“I worked hard to secure the approval of all political parties. I sent my bio-data to all politicians and urged them to support me. I am very happy that they all supported me,” said Swamy, who was recently elected to the Rajya Sabha from  Odisha.

Speaking to mediapersons here on Friday, Swamy spoke about his work for the tribals. “I have watched them very closely. They joined the freedom struggle because they wanted to be free from the bondage. But even after independence, they continue to struggle because government did not pay much attention towards their development,” said Swamy. “So they took up arms. But this is no way to solve the problem. I will never support violence in the land of  Gandhi. So I appeal the Maoist to come to the mainstream,” said the 83-year-old Bhudan leader.

One-man army against liquor gets support

The one-man army’s fight against sale of liquor and opening of outlets in Laida village of Rengali block has finally received some support. Janardan Sahu, found able support from the villagers of Sindurpank panchayat, who have long been demanding ban on sale of liquor in their panchayat. They joined him on Saturday, exactly a year after the 73-year-old began his crusade against liquor.

Sahu has been staging a dharna in front of the collectorate demanding ban on country liquor at Laida but the entire village was pitted against him. The septuagenarian, who is also president of Dinabandhu Swayam Sebi Sanstha (DSSS), aims to make Laida, the biggest village of the district, liquor-free. With this aim in sight, he sat alone outside the collectorate against the backdrop of a photo of Mahatma Gandhi, demanding closure of IMFL and country liquor outlets in Laida.

His fast-unto-death evoked strong support forcing the administration to enter into a dialogue with Sahu and assure him that the IMFL shop would be moved out from the village along with the country liquor brewing unit, it remained mere lip service forcing Sahu to launch a stir yet again from Friday.

Even today his fellow villagers are opposed to the idea and have submitted a memorandum to the Sub-Collector on Friday against ban on liquor shops.

Traditional Odissi art on display

Attend the Odisha Handloom and Handicraft’s Fair organised by Prasanthi Handicrafts at the Jayashree Kalyana Mandapam, Kalakshetra Road, Thiruvanmiyur.

The fair has a wide range of handicrafts on display from Bhubaneswar, Orissa.

Pure silk saris with bomkai and double ikkat motifs from Sambalpur, Bargarh, and Sonepur to name a few.

Besides the inked salwar kameez sets, there are sets embellished with mirror, jala, and jehera work, all at affordable prices.

One could also choose from exquisite dress materials in cotton finishing — ghagra choli, kurtas, bed spreads, curtains, pillow and cushion covers among others.

Appliqué work, a distinct craft of Orissa which involves cutting of fabric in various shapes such as flowers, birds and animals, and stitching them on coloured cloth, adds vibrancy to the fair.

Also on display are wall hangings, lamp shades, and banjara and bidri work hand bags, which are particularly attractive. Mythological engravings on palm leaf, letter holders, jute bags, and wallets made of jute are the special attraction of the expo.

The exhibition-cum-sale is also offering a special discount of 20 per cent on handloom products and a 10 per cent on handicrafts.

The fair is on till April 6.