ALL GOVERNMENT buildings at Madhubani, the Bihar town synonymous with the signature genre of painting, will now be decked in colours and eye-catching patterns of the traditional art-form.
Inspired by the Eastern Central Railway, which recently got local artisans to beautify the Madhubani railway station with Mithila or Madhubani paintings, the district administration has decided to paint about 50-odd government buildings in the natural and acrylic colours of the age-old traditional painting style.
“Since the art work done in the station area has received an overwhelming response, we want to expand the canvas for Madhubani paintings,” says Madhubani District Magistrate S K Ashok.
He adds that visitors must get firsthand impressions of how Mithila paintings have been interwoven into the region’s culture. “This will also give employment to local artists. Besides painting traditional themes, social issues would also be the subject matter of the artwork. We are starting with the Circuit House to attract immediate attention of guests staying here,” says Ashok, adding that the building construction department has already started the process and is expected to finish the work within the year.
The district administration also plans to request citizens to adorn their home walls with the paintings but that would strictly be optional. Ashok says the administration has also been encouraging villagers of Jitwarpur, where the most renowned artists hail from, to display their paintings permanently outside their homes for visitors. He adds that these painters will also be roped in for the project.
The initiatives by the Eastern Central Railway (ECR), which employed hundreds of painters to cover the railway station’s inner and outer walls with the eternal subjects of Madhubani paintings — peacocks, fish and human connection with Nature — and the district administration, have received backing from local artists. “It is a great feeling to see Madhubani paintings getting such a big canvas. It is important for outsiders to know our rich culture and tradition,” says budding painter Rishan Kumari.
Madhubani or Mithila paintings are traditionally created with fingers and twigs. Their distinct features are geometrical patterns and two-dimensional pictures, with a Madhubani painting for each ritual. “It is a painting of celebration,” says Kumari.