Sanjay Manubai Chitara, Untitled, Mineral and vegetable colors on cloth, 58 x 59 inches

Mata Ni Pachedi

Mata ni Pachedi is also known as the Kalamkari of Gujarat for its aesthetic semblance and similar use of pen made out of bamboo. ‘Mata ni Pachedi’, literally means ‘behind the Mother goddess’. Relevant patterns and motifs are employed on cloth that are used as a backdrop to the idol that is worshipped. The practice began when the members of nomadic Vaghri community were discouraged from entering temples. They resorted to creating their own shrines with paint, mineral colours and block prints on cloth. The goddess occupies the center while mountains, animals, trees, rivers and natural flora and fauna surround it. Evenn though it the use of colour was limited in olden days, in recent times, Mata ni Pachedi paintings are available in many hues and have gathered the attention of collectors from around the world. This form of artwork equates to a subaltern or alternative narrative where a community rises to develop its own rituals having being excluded from the mainstream. The need to preserve the likes of such endangered artforms is crucial. Artist Sanjay Chitara who takes after his father to carry the tradition forward, belongs to one of the last families still practicing this style.