Fine Tuned: A Look at Sanjay Chittara's Contemporary Versions of Mata ni Pachedi

The young, contemporary artist explores new formats and a unique identity within this traditional art form

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Mata ni Pachedi: Fine details (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Sanjay Chittara's Art

Of around 50 artists known to be practicing the art of creating Mata ni Pachedis, Sanjay Chittara is a remarkable young artist who aspires to lift the textile onto a higher platform of sacred art. To do this, he refines the brushwork, uses finer details and has ventured into a wider range of natural colours.

Mata ni Pachedi: Sanjay Chitara, a National Award-winning artist (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Coming from a family of traditional Chittara artists, Sanjay Chittara is a young Mata ni Pachedi specialist, who has made a name for himself in the circles of art and craft connoisseurs. He was recognised for his contribution to his art in the form of a National Award, in the year 2000.

Mata ni Pachedi: A traditional Mata ni Pachedi (2017) by Sanjay ChitaraDastkari Haat Samiti

Sanjay has remained true to the style of the Mata ni Pachedi. He continues to make the traditional textile that is used for worship of the Mother Goddess.

Mata ni Pachedi: Natural materials used to make the art (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Sanjay Chittara keeps to the traditional format, but has taken it to a higher level of refinement, and today he transforms his works into textiles prized by art collectors.

Mata ni Pachedi: Natural materials used to make the art (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The basic colours of black and red remain in his works. In addition, he has incorporated a wider range of colours: pink, yellow, green and blue. His palette is based on natural materials only.

Mata ni Pachedi: Textile art (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

A basic point of take-off in Sanjay’s works is his fine detailing.

Mata ni Pachedi: Filling in the areas where red colour will be developed using a mordant (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

While Sanjay Chittara does the layout and the fine outlines, he has employed others from his community, who help in the work of filling-in and colouring.

Mata ni Pachedi: Traditional Mata ni Pachedi art form (2017) by Sanjay ChitaraDastkari Haat Samiti

Sanjay has kept the iconography of the sacred Mata textiles. Beyond this, his refinement of details, of both the central figures as well as the scenery and peripheral images, adds a different depth to his art.

Mata ni Pachedi: Traditional Mata ni Pachedi art form (2017) by Sanjay ChitaraDastkari Haat Samiti

The artist has also taken the liberty of changing the format of the sacred textile, while maintaining the goddess as the central figure.

Mata ni Pachedi: Traditional Mata ni Pachedi art form (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The contemporary versions of Mata ni Pachedi

Sanjay Chittara keeps to the traditional format of Mata ni Pachedi, but transports his works into textiles prized by art collectors through the emancipation of the detailing and the variation of colours. He participates in exhibitions all over India and trains his family and friends to work with him in the basic filling-in of background colours and printing the border designs on the edges. The planning and eventual execution is from his own creative imagination.

Mata ni Pachedi: Art in form of a textile (2017) by Sanjay ChitaraDastkari Haat Samiti

Instead of the traditional array of symbols and references related to the epics and to ritual prayer, many of his works focus solely on the Mother Goddess, without additional stories and references woven in.

Mata ni Pachedi: Fine details (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

We see that the creatures of the three worlds – the skies, the earth and the netherworld, all come to pay their tribute to the Goddess.

Mata ni Pachedi: Fine details (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

There are singers, musicians, shamans, animals and birds that seem to dance and fly in celebration of the goddess.

Mata ni Pachedi: Fine details (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Creatures of the earth world come to pay their tribute to the Goddess.

Mata ni Pachedi: Fine details (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Creatures of the netherworld come to pay their tribute to the Goddess.

Mata ni Pachedi: Fine details (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Fishes and tortoise come to pay tribute to the goddess.

Mata ni Pachedi: Sanjay Chitara's framed artwork (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The artist continues to paint the Mother Goddess, though he has gone beyond the set format of the traditional Mata ni Pachedi.

Mata ni Pachedi: Details of Mother Goddess (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The intricacy of the detailing and choice of natural colours is Sanjay Chittara’s unique talent. His works are now seen in art galleries and corporate board rooms.

Mata ni Pachedi: Traditional Mata ni Pachedi art form (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Birds are depicted flitting joyfully among the branches of a tree in one corner of a finely painted Mata ni Pachedi.

Mata ni Pachedi: Details of Sanjay Chitara's artwork (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

All parts of the painting show all living creatures, who come to honour the Mother Goddess, joyfully celebrating.

Mata ni Pachedi: Traditional Mata ni Pachedi art form (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The Mother Goddess does not dominate space in the painting but is plainly prominent through the use of vivid madder red to surround her image.

The appeal of Sanjay's work is marked by its fine detailing and extended natural colour palette.

Mata ni Pachedi: Details of Sanjay Chitara's artwork (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The refinement of figures and details, coupled with the expanded natural colour palette has taken Sanjay Chittara’s works from the sacred spaces of excluded communities to the drawing rooms and museums of the urban world.

Mata ni Pachedi: Hand-painted plaster of paris head (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Exploring new mediums

As a contemporary artist working with a traditional medium, Sanjay Chittara’s practice is constantly evolving. He explores new formats, like plaster of Paris, while working in his own unique style. He participates in exhibitions all over India and trains his family and friends to work with him. Sanjay has also explored art outside the traditional one, a form that resonates more with his new urban audience.

Mata ni Pachedi: Hand-painted plaster of paris head (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

As a contemporary artist working with a traditional medium, Sanjay Chittara walks on the path that is constantly evolving. He explores new formats, while working in his own unique style.

Mata ni Pachedi: Hand-painted plaster of paris head (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

During the Durga Puja festival, in 2017, he travelled across the city to Kolkata to paint and decorate a puja pandal, an elaborate shrine dedicated to the goddess that is constructed for annual worship and celebrations.

He also explores art outside the traditional means with a form that resonates more with his new urban audience.

Mata ni Pachedi: Inside Jagdish Chitara's family temple (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Credits: Story

Text: Aloka Hiremath, Jaya Jaitly
Photography: Suleiman Merchant
Artisans: Jagdish Chittara, Sanjay Chittara
Ground Facilitator: Aloka Hiremath
Documentary Video: Suleiman Merchant
Curation: Aradhana Nagpal

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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