MADHUBANI – Jitwarpur village in Bihar, famed for its unique vibrant Madhubani art and home to three Padma Shri recipients, is seeking government’s attention to revive and promote its folk art.
The three Padma Shri recipients — late Sita Devi, Godawari Dutta and Baua Devi — have dedicated their entire life to Madhubani art. More than 75 per cent of people in Jitwarpur village have been practising Madhubani art and livelihood of 50 per cent of villagers depends on this art.
The artists residing in this village seek the government’s support to revive the traditional artwork and provide a direct connection between them and customers.
Mithlesh Kumar Jha, grandson of Sita Devi, said “My grandmother has contributed her life to Madhubani paintings. I have also learned this beautiful art from her.
“She was the one who encouraged teenagers to develop their creativity through art. In our village, 75 per cent of homes are involved in Madhubani artwork and 50 per cent of families are entirely dependent on this.”
“Earlier, there used to be a direct touch among the government and the artists. The government used to offer us a marketplace. However, things have changed now. Now, there is a middle man who purchases paintings from us and sells it at double price. In fact, we are not even permitted to write our names on the paintings,” he added.
Urging the government to pay heed to their problems and provide a market space to artists, Baua Devi said “I have been doing this artwork since the age of thirteen. I want to contribute my whole life to this art. I’m thankful that the government has given recognition to my skills but there is still more to look after. I appeal to the government to establish a direct commercial enterprise between artists and consumers so that middlemen do not take away all the profit.”
Two years ago, President Pranab Mukherjee had conferred the prestigious Padma Shri award to noted Madhubani artist Baua Devi at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented a Madhubani painting to the Lord Mayor of Hannover. Interestingly, the painting was painted on canvas by Baua Devi and it depicted various stages of life, association with nature, as also the interconnected nature of life on earth.