Hands on with Bengal Pattachitra

In the summer of 2018, Hands on Studios conducted a Bengal Pattachitra workshop with master artisan Manoranjan Chitrakar, an internationally known Patua artist from Naya, West Bengal. He was accompanied by his son Hasir Chitrakar. The workshop took place from 23rd of April to 4th of Mayin multiple locations across Pune.

Bengal Pattachitra is a scroll that is slowly unravelled by the storytellers in a sequence as they sing the story associated with it.

These paintings are characterised by colourful motifs and natural colours that address socio-cultural issues, mythological and moral stories.

The workshop was divided into 3 days.

On the first day, Manoranjan Chitrakar briefed us about the history and origin of Pattachitra. Participants were awed with the splendid display of scrolls and the songs that the father-son duo sung along with them.

Following this, the duo demonstrated the making of natural colours extracted from colourful flowers leaves, stones, vegetables and rice. Natural glue (gum) made from ‘Bel’ fruit was added to these extracts. Each participant witnessed hands-on colour making. The master artisans also taught participants how to make typical Patachitra motifs.

On the second day, everyone was given the product kits – a scrolled wall hanging. Participants painted modern-day themes and frames on their scrolls. Some of them chose to create a single frame of artwork under Manoranjanji’s guidance. All the participants used natural colours during the workshop.

On the third day, each participant gave final touches to their creations. The distinctive feature of Patua painting is shading – every element has a darker shade outside and transcends to a lighter shade inward. Bordersare a distinct feature of each painting. The deities or human figures were decorated with ornaments in white colour. Later, the paintings were assembled and made into a scroll.

Workshop Photos

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