Tuesday, February 17, 2015

THE LOST ART

           All that is left now is that photo from the newspaper. My father had shown it to everyone and it proudly graced the wall of the living room of our small house. The Hindu had run an article on him, the famous Madhubani Painter from Mithila, Bihar. He had won the Chief Minister’s award for his work in keeping the Madhubani Art alive back in those. His joy and pride in winning the award is clearly visible in his face. The tilt of his lips into a smile tells us all that is to know.
        In our family generations of artists were born. During the time of Rajas and Maharajas, my great grandfather was a renowned Madhubani artist and his paintings were commissioned by the kings. Learning to read and write was not as important as learning to paint. As kids, we would learn to draw the perfect strokes of lines instead of learning to write the alphabet. By the time, we reached the age of 15, we could draw all the scenes from The Mahabharata and The Ramayana.
            But those days are long gone, the Madhubani art is almost extinct. People in my generation are looking for other professions instead of the age old art running in the family for generations. The paintings instead of gracing the walls in the homes of people, ended up being in train coaches and museums where people hardly glance at them. People are more attracted to the modern art than what is tradition. The Madhubani art is lost somewhere in between modernisation and urbanisation of our villages and with that my Fathers smile lost in the years and the photo just a reminder of him and his passion which shone in his eyes.

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