Protecting art, one piece at a time

Fading forms like Chittara, Manjusha and Cheryl will be on display as 35 artists from across the country showcase their works.

Published: 18th June 2022 02:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th June 2022 02:17 AM   |  A+A-

Endangered Folk Art of India.

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The value of a piece of art is not measured on how the final product turns out but on the effort that goes into creating it. The International Indian Folk Art Gallery (IIFAG) is organising ‘Endangered Folk Art of India’, an exhibition at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath till June 19. It features artists and fading artworks from different regions of the country. The gallery walls are adorned with artworks from Karnataka, Rajasthan, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Alongside,  artists are also holding workshops.  

Senthil Vel, an electrical and electronics engineer by profession and an artist by passion, started this initiative when the pandemic first hit. Several artists either have small stores back in their city or sell their works from home. “Some of these Indian folk arts and our beautiful heritage are on the verge of extinction,” Vel says.

IIFAG hosted the first ‘Endangered Folk Arts of India’ event in Mumbai in February this year, followed by an event in Melbourne, Australia in May. Though there were initial hiccups in getting artists on board, Vel says, “After first-hand experience with the platform, many artists are now a part of our online and offline gallery.”

The exhibition features more than 35 artists and 500 art pieces, including the world’s longest Pattachitra painting. “The 35-feet long and three-feet tall painting depicts the life of Lord Krishna in 14 episodes in a temple design. It took five artists and 35 days to complete the Pattachitra on pure Tussar silk,” says Odisha artist Sushant Maharana. 

According to Maharashtrian artist Anita Dalavi, her ‘Warli paintings’ are created on canvas using cow dung. “The tradition of making these paintings started decades ago and was initially drawn only on homes which have an upcoming wedding. But with time, artists began to describe everyday activities and convey fictional stories through them,” she says.  Vel calls these artworks ‘endangered’ because not many know about them. “Each piece of art requires to be taken care of. And in some way, we are responsible for keeping it alive,” says the founder.


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