Patuas have undergone all sorts of oppression be it social or economic. And yet they have been able to earn their subsistence to this day overcoming all types of adversities, no matter how difficult that might have been. At the very beginning [,] we used to go to villages and act as entertainers, showing our paintings and narrating the depictions that were set to tune by us. There was no guarantee as to whether we would get anything in exchange from the households we visited in the village. Some days were worse than the others when we would return empty handed and had nothing to eat. We, as a community, have been able to put food on our plates for quite a long time now.
The present generation are indeed associated with a wide range of other jobs.But I don’t think that they’ll abandon patachitra this soon because they all derive great pleasure from it.For instance, my own children begin their patachitras right from the morning.They are all working on this and this is how the legacy would continue.
But, then, they require training.It would be really nice if they could have a gurukul or a school where they would be taught about the paintings, the songs, and where they would receive a little bit of training to hone their skills.Right from their childhood they’ll be able to grasp that they need to hold onto this tradition, or rather, it would be better if they did.
Contact/Background Information :
Name : Bahadur Chitrakar.
Address: Naya Gram,Pingla West Bengal. INDIA.
Marital Status: Married.
Bahadur Chitrakar is a leading Patachitra artist from Naya village of Pingla block in Paschim Medinipur district. He learnt the art from his parents who continued their family tradition of painting Patachitra. Bahadur specialises in traditional and Kalighat Patachitra styles.He also paints traditional Pat on themes like Ramayana, Mahabharata and contemporary social issues like plantation,Child Marriage,Gender Discremination etc.
He is a leading, Patachitra artist from Pingla block of Paschim Medinipur district and is respected by the whole Patua community for his deep sense and passion towards restoration of Art and Patachitra. He started learning the art at the age of eight and went on to win numerous prestigious awards. Apart from painting traditional Patachitra, Bahadur works on diverse products, including dress material,home decor items and restoration of old Patachitras. He has participated in events across India and abroad promoting Bengal’s Patachitra.
Our experiences in being Patuas have been enlightening but nevertheless tormenting too , says ,Bahadur Chitrakar. While growing up, we used to hear that our fathers and other Chitrakars used to go to villages to beg for food. We are lucky now that none of us have had to beg for food. But those memories are always haunting us like a specter from an ignoble past, affecting our present dispositions. We have always felt threatened.
He loves working with Project rangamaati as it helps him generate income while he works from home and his artwork reaches new markets across India and Abroad.
I am happy to be a part of rangamaati ,which provides Me a chance to work on diverse medium and " I strongly believe working together is the only solution to fight back “fake”, screen printed and machine-made Artworks. "