Patachitra in Durga Puja Festival

Showcasing the confluence of a unique folk art form of scroll painting and the annual festival of Goddess Durga.

By Banglanatak

The Art of a Patachitra Artist, Rupsona Chitrakar, 2018, From the collection of: Banglanatak
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Patachitra of Durga, Rahim Chitrakar, 2018, From the collection of: Banglanatak
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The Patuas of Naya village in Pingla, West Bengal are a Muslim community identified by the title 'Chitrakar', literally meaning 'picture-makers'. They have been painting and singing stories on Hindu mythology and folk tales for centuries, and Goddess Durga is one of their favourite subjects. Patachitra is their unique oral-visual art form of scroll paintings accompanied by narrative songs, making them painters, lyricists, and singers all at once.

Single Panel Patachitra of Goddess Durga with Family (2019) by Anwar ChitrakarBanglanatak

Durga Puja of Bengal is one of the closest-to-heart festivals of eastern India.

Once a year, the Goddess visits her maternal home on Earth, from Kailash (the abode of her husband Lord Shiva) with her four children, and are dearly welcomed through the celebrations and rituals of the Festival. 

Patachitra Painting on Durga Idol (2018) by Swarna ChitrakarBanglanatak

The art of Bengal Patachitra, heavily drawing from Hindu mythology, merges with Durga Puja decorations, celebrating cultural diversity.
 
The engagement of Patuas in pandal and idol decorations is a true representation of the syncretic nature of this tradition in modern times.

Patachitra Painting on Durga Puja Pandal (2018) by ChitrataruBanglanatak

Patachitra decorates the entrance of a Pandal in Kolkata - a temporary enclosure (made of natural fibre and cloth, decorated with diverse arts, crafts and lights) that serves as a  dwelling of Goddess Durga and her children on earth, during the week long festival.

Patachitra Painting on Durga Idol (2018) by Swarna ChitrakarBanglanatak

This is the work of iconic Patua Swarna Chitrakar.

Swarna received the State Award in 1994 and District Award in 1995 followed by several accolades in major festivals in India, France, Germany, Australia, USA, Sweden, China, and England. 


Painting of Kumortoli (2019) by Anwar ChitrakarBanglanatak

Patuas also paint about the Durga Puja festival itself. The specialised artist community who traditionally sculpt all religious idols reside and work in their innumerable workshops in Kumortuli. This is a painting of  the sculptors at work, to celebrate them. 

This is a painting by the acclaimed Patua Anwar Chitrakar.

Single Panel Patachitra of Goddess Durga and Worshippers (2019) by Anwar ChitrakarBanglanatak

Here the painter depicts the ritual itself where the priest, worshippers and the dhaak player have gathered to offer prayers.

The priest is holding the lamp in front of the deity. 

Sound of Dhaak
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A dhaak player is playing the dhaak (a type of drum, an auspicious instrument that is an essential part of the festival).

To know more about Durga in Patachitra art form, visit this link

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