PATACHITRA (scrolls)

ABDUL CHITRAKAR
Born c.1985, Naya, West Bengal, India

JABA CHITRAKAR
Born 1960s, Sabangkhana, West Bengal, India

MADHU CHITRAKAR
Born 1967, Naya, West Bengal, India

MANTU CHITRAKAR
Born 1960s, Naya, West Bengal, India

MONIMALA CHITRAKAR
Born c.1970, Peora, West Bengal, India

SONIA CHITRAKAR
Born 1998, Naya, West Bengal, India
Live and work near Naya

Patachitra or pats are scroll paintings from West Bengal, intimately bound up with itinerant storytelling and songs. Historically, pats were cloth scrolls on which mythological or epic stories were painted as a sequence of frames. The artists would travel from one village to another slowly unrolling these and singing. Patachitras have been compared to cinema frames or animation, and are said to be one of the oldest forms of audio-visual communication. The Chitrakar (meaning 'image maker') community are clustered around a small village in West Bengal. They specialise in making Patachitra and have recently broadened the tradition to include contemporary local and global events. Continuing the ancient purpose of sharing information between villages, artists have begun telling stories as diverse as the Asian tsunami, the Gujarat earthquake, and the assassination of Indira Gandhi, as well as using the scrolls as an educational tool for advocating birth control, and awareness of the spread of HIV.

KALPA VRIKSHA: Contemporary Indigenous and Vernacular Art of India

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