Pattachitra is an ancient folk art from eastern India whose charm lies in its effortless style of sketching, colours, lines and space usage. The word Patta is derived from the Sanskrit word which means cloth. The painters of Pattachitra belong to a unique community known as Patuas.
Through centuries, pattachitra has been a platform, which brings together various different methods of communication- visual, hand painted scrolls, an oral tradition and folk music- all of which revolves around nature, society and culture. Part of the painted scroll and bardic part of India’s intangible history, the patuas or the painters of the pattachitras were primarily wandering artists- who would travel from place to place with painted scrolls of various deities, moving from one village to the other, displaying the scrolls at various households and narrating the different stories of the deities and in return would be rewarded with cash or kind or both in the form of grains, food and clothes.
That was then. The old systems faded and new patterns emerged. The space for the wandering bard shrunk. But the painters continued to paint these delicate, rainbow used scrolls, telling stories – old and new.
Crafts should evolve with time and these scroll, traditionally painted on paper, cloth or palm leaf, have today given way to numerous avatars. Collective Craft, an organisation based in Orissa, works with traditional Patua Painters, They encourage and inspire these artists to take their inherent skill and talent and convert it into object d’art. Their idea is to work towards engaging traditional handicrafts in contemporary product space and communication design. From beautiful hand painted boxes and trays to a future that will include textiles, furniture, architectural hardware and fittings all adorned with traditional craft, the aim is always towards enriching more artisans and artisan communities.
From ancient storytelling to the present age, the art of Pattachitra has traveled and traveled well.
Find Pattachitra products on Direct Create, here!