M3 Features

Chitrakars of Naya village explore new ideas


April 27, 2014

The chitrakars of Naya village (which is their home) in West Midnapore have not restricted themselves to painting patachitras and singing pater gaan as they unfurl their work. Rather, they are diversifying.

With the passage of time, these chitrakars have started making greeting cards, small paintings, and various items for decorating homes. These painters have also started painting saris, salwars, T-shirts, Panjabis, flower vases, umbrellas, pen stands and many other things. In addition, they have used their skills to spread awareness among people on various issues such as atrocities against women, HIV, planting trees, polio vaccine and so on.

“We draw pictures on these issues and with the help of various nongovernmental organisations, we visit one village to another to spread awareness among people,” said Manimala Chitrakar.

“Recently, we carried out such campaigns on the importance of the polio vaccine,” she said.

According to her, all chitrakars are making cards and other items since patachitras are costly and do not get buyers all the time.

“The small items such as greeting cards are affordable to the residents since the minimum cost of one card is between 25 and 30. We are able to sell a number of small things at various fairs and the earnings from these events help us run our families on a daily basis,” said Manimala Chitrakar.

Her version was also supported by 50-year-old Yakub Chitrakar who paints patachitras on flower vases, umbrellas and on clothes.

These small items are bought by people in various fairs be it those held in villages or the ones organised in cities such as handicraft fair, Saras Mela or Sabala Mela.

“I paint patachitras on hand fans and these colourful fans are a big hit in fairs,” Najra Chitrakar said.

“The minimum price of such a colourful fan is 5 and the price can go up according to demand,” she said. Suman Chitrakar specialises in painting patachitras on T-shirts and these are in demand as the younger generation loves wearing them. The minimum cost of one T-shirt is 300.

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