Print Edition - 2018-07-19  |  Life & Style

Janakpur’s Mithila artists miffed

- AJIT TIWARI, Dhanusha

Jul 19, 2018-

To prepare for the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Janakpur, in May, all three levels of government were equally engaged to decorate the city. The responsibility to adorn the city’s alleys and walls was given to the office of Janakpur sub-metropolitan.

Janakpur’s newly-elected Mayor Raj Kishor Sah decided that the city would be decorated using the kesariya colour. Shah tabled his plan amid an assembly of stakeholders, which the assembly passed, and also suggested that the walls would be decorated in Mithila paintings, the form of painting originated in the Mithila region.

Satish Sah, who is the chairman of the Janakpur-based Women’s Development Centre, was delighted to hear the decision. The centre has been producing and promoting Mithila paintings since decades, so Sah, sure that the office would hand over the project to the Centre, was excited about the prospect. But his excitement didn’t last long as the office of sub-metropolitan decided to call forth ‘painters’ from Bhaktapur and Pokhara.

“We have over 27 years of experience in Mithila painting,” Sah told the Post, “but the sub-metropolitan boycotted us and handed over the project to painters from elsewhere. We were stunned as we were denied the opportunity to adorn the walls we have held dear for so long.”

Mayor Sah concedes that the painters were called from elsewhere keeping in mind the limited span of time to complete the job. “We reckoned the job would be demanding and it was to be finished in a short period time, so we called painters from elsewhere,” Sah told the Post.

Chairman Sah informs that the Centre currently has 40 regular artists and says the artists are skilled and experienced. “We were not even informed about the project,” Sah laments, “Even if it were only for a short period of time, we would have delivered in the given time. But we were completely boycotted.”

Sah further adds that the paintings done by artists from Pokhara and Bhaktapur are not original. “Even though they look ‘like Mithila paintings’, they are not what you would call Mithila paintings proper. They are deceptive. Anyone who is well-versed in Mithila paintings can point out the difference,” Sah said.

The paintings were created by a group of more than two dozen painters from Bhaktapur and Pokhara.

Chairman Sah repeats that the Centre, which has been involved in several projects in the districts in the past, could have completed the work in given time if given the chance.

The Centre, one of the noted artistic groups in the region, currently exports its output to various American and European countries; in the past year, the Centre exported products worth Rs 1.5 million to the US alone.

Published: 19-07-2018 07:48

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