Patachitra paintings, leather puppetry from Andhra Pradesh, Kalamkari handpaintings... DakshinaChitra will be home to traditional art forms over the next week, as 30 artists engage in an intensive Tribal, Folk and Traditional Art Conclave from November 14 to 20.
Organised by Lalit Kala Akademi in association with the DakshinaChitra Museum, the convention will present artists from across the country, but mainly from the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Gita Hudson, curator of DakshinaChitra elaborates, “While Lalit Kala Akademi highlights contemporary art and artists, the conclave is part of a larger series that aims to promote traditional artists from across the country.” Working as a preparatory camp, the work done over the week will be exhibited at the Tribal Art National Level Exhibition, scheduled to be held in Delhi next year.
From Tamil Nadu, a total of six artists will be participating. While Krishnan R and Balasubramani from the Nilgiris will work on Kurumba art, Swarna Raja Kochi will present Thanjavur paintings, a classical South Indian style distinguished by its famous gold coating.
Three artists from the Kumbakonam region are participating. Gita says, “I found a style of Kalamkari hand-painted on cloth which comes from the region of Kumbakonam and is markedly similar to the one in Andhra Pradesh, narrating mythological stories through the art.”
Other tribal and folk art forms include leather puppetry from Andhra Pradesh, Chennapatna art works and dolls from Karnataka, and mural paintings from Kerala.
Artists from Jharkhand, Bihar, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Odisha are participating to foster better understanding of culture among the collective. Pata painting or Patachitra is a traditional cloth-based scroll painting from the region of Odisha which will be worked on by artist Prabhakar Maharana and Sohrai art from Jharkhand will be demonstrated by artists Sogiya Devi, Anita Devi and Putali Devi.
The conclave will feature the release of the documentary film — The Missing Rainbow, a 40-minute movie on the Women Tribal Art Camp which was held in Araku Valley, the previous month. Directed by Gita, who is also the coordinator of the camp, the movie is based on 10 women artists and aims to promote awareness about their lifestyle and art.