The joyous scenes shown in the scroll Santhal Story of Origin by Abdul Chitrakar (India b.1985) focus on creation myths, with festivities and celebrations that are important to the indigenous Santhal community.

Patachitra, or ‘pats’, are scroll paintings from West Bengal, intimately bound up with itinerant storytelling and songs. Historically, patachitra were cloth scrolls on which mythological or epic stories were painted as a sequence of frames. The artists (patua) would travel from village to village, slowly unrolling the scrolls and singing the stories. Patachitras have been compared to cinema frames or animation, and are said to be one of the oldest forms of audiovisual communication.

Traditionally, pats were not sold but retained for performances until they became old and faded, when they were ceremonially gifted to a river.

Exhibited in 'The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art' (APT8) | 21 Nov 2015 – 10 Apr 2016


  • Title: Santhal Story of Origin
  • Creator: Abdul Chitrakar
  • Date Created: 2014
  • Location: India
  • Physical Dimensions: 370 x 55.8cm
  • Provenance: Purchased 2016 with funds from the Estate of Jessica Ellis through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation. Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
  • Subject Keywords: APT8, India, Abdul Chitrakar
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: © The artist
  • External Link: Kalpa Vriksha: Contemporary Indigenous and Vernacular Art of India
  • Medium: Natural colour on mill-made paper with fabric backing

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