Monimala

Monimala Chitrakar is a well-known name among the contemporary illustrious singer-painters of pristine Bengal. Monimala, born in a rural environment learned the art of scroll painting by the traditional artists of her village. Monimala’s sheer determination and personal skill contributed to her success in becoming one of the most significant artists in this tradition. Monimala has exhibited and performed widely in various parts of India as well as in Europe and the US.

Patta Chitra or scroll painting is a very old tradition in India where painted scrolls are displayed with lyrical narratives. Thus it is not merely a compartmentalized presentation of artwork; rather it is an integrated form of art tradition in which a painter presents verbal imagery of the scenes depicted. Monimala depicts various traditional stories about local gods and goddesses of Eastern India in which magico-religious aspects and their secretive esoteric hues are shown in thick stripes of dark colors. Lonely fish speak her story in Monimala’s songs. The free-standing figure of a Bengali woman with her eyes looking straight ahead and body disguised in colorful attire reveals the eastern notion of sensuality rooted in the all-absorbing glittering darkness of the medium. Like a living tradition which incorporates new elements of human life in the old consciousness, not to change but to denote that songs never die, colors never fade; everything flows back to whence it came. Similarly, Monimala’s work is not limited to depict traditional themes only, with the passage of time new stories have been incorporated into the old medium. Scroll paintings depicting the 2004 tsunami, various women’s issues and HIV AIDS are commonly found.



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