“Pithora paintings are soaked with religious and cultural significance”: Acclaim for Padma Shri Artist Bhuri Bai – Madhya Pradesh

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Madhya Pradesh-based Bhuri Bai has experienced acute poverty first hand and has also worked as a child labourer just to be able to afford one square meal. When she was 10, her house was burnt down in a fire, so her family built a makeshift house from hay and lived there for years. […]

Bhuri’s tale is worthy of a biopic and it begins in Jabhua’s rural landscape in the late 1960s. […]

The Jhabua district is home to the Bhil tribe, also referred to as the ‘brave bowmen of India’, who predominantly survived on forest resources in the 1800s. With time, agriculture became their main occupation. Surrounded by the Mahi river in the north and the Narmada in the south, this region is also the hub of ‘Pithora’, a spectacular ancient art form that is created on walls.

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The Pithora paintings are soaked with religious and cultural significance. The paintings mainly use three lucky mascots of Bhilalala mythological stories — sun, moon and horses to creatively portray daily activities of rural life like hunting, ploughing and farming. The process of this indigenous painting begins with Lipai meaning covering the background of walls with cow dung, water and chuna. The walls are then embellished with birds, animals, trees in vivid colours. The selling point of Pithora is that no two paintings will ever be the same. Each artist uses their own creativity, imagination, patterns and colour combinations. […]

Bhuri is credited for being one of the pioneering women from her community who took forward the rich tribal lineage of Pithora paintings while creating livelihood opportunities in an otherwise region marred by infrastructural constraints. She has the distinction of seeing her art travelling to several art galleries in India and abroad. […]

Art by Bhuri Bai © Thebetterindia.com >>
More about the Bhil and Bhilala communities >>
Pithora arts and crafts >>

Source: “Padma Shri Artist From Madhya Pradesh Once Worked As A Daily Wager, Earning Rs 6” by Gopi Karelia, The Better India, 27 January 2021
URL: https://www.thebetterindia.com/247963/bhuri-bai-madhya-pradesh-padma-shri-2021-winner-pithora-paintings-inspiring-india-gop94/
Date Visited: 16 January 2022

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