Putli Ganju, Natural Earth Ochre Colors on Handmade paper, 22 x 30 inches 

Hazaribagh Art

In the Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand, Khovar and Sohrai art is practiced during the occasions of marriage and harvest respectively. This is a mural painting tradition performed exclusively by women with roots back to the pre-historic rock art. The artists use reverse pottery technique where the base is formed by a manganese black earth coat that is covered with a layer of white earth once the former dries. The white layer is the cut or scraped off in various shapes to create the required motifs. Sometimes, the use of red or yellow clay is used on the twigs to create outline of the shapes and add a pop of colour. The community comes together during the occasion of marriage or harvest to paint the walls with birds, aquatic life and other animals to symbolize fertility. As keepers of symbols and traditions, their aspiration is to perpetuate tribal consciousness and the deep harmony of their folklore and way of life for generations yet to come. The bourgeoning construction of cement houses has endangered this artform as it is now practiced in fewer homes. The rock art of Jharkhand and Khovar and Sohrai paintings were brought to light about two decades ago by Bulu Imam. The paintings transferred onto handmade paper have been exhibited in various exhibitions and several documentary films, research and magazine articles highlight the vulnerability of this vanishing art tradition