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The HAT Project 2006/07 is supporting 20 exchange fellowships between England, South Asia and Australia

Gill Wilson

Residency at Sanskriti Pratishthan

Mithila painting

Posted by Gill Wilson on 16th January 2007

We saw a wonderful exhibition of the work of artists in the Mithila region of Bihar. They have developed a distinct style of Mithila painting and are developing the subjects to include local, national and international politics and most recently, social and feminist criticism. The paintings are vibrant and really inspiring. The work has been recognised by The Ethnic Arts Foundation and exhibited internationally though this was its first showing in India. The paintings had originally been discovered when an earthquake had damaged the villages of the Mitha region. The exterior walls had collapsed exposing interior murals previously invisible to outsiders. - these were photographed and are now in the British Library in London. These wall paintings were recorded 30 years before painting on paper began. The mud wall surfaces allowed for much larger and more free floating images than possible on sheets of paper now used by the painters. ,p>

Mithila painting

It strikes me looking at the images that the wall paintings are so beautiful because they are painted on the texture of the wall surfaces. This element reminds me of papers that I make from plants which are imbued with the character of the original material.

Today I have also started drawing the trees outside the studio, the shadows are wonderful, the group of trees acts as an installation - the leaves are also very sculptural. Maybe its something about an artist that means when you are not able to work with specialist materials around you, you go back to drawing - if you cant get paper and pen its very frustrating.

I start with a pencil recording the trees and the shadows then photographing them - then collecting the leaves. The trees are beautiful in the morning light when its misty and soft. They are also lovely against the blue sky - it forms a small sense of magic in this chaotic world.

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Hanne Rysgaard talks to conference during cHAT week at Sanskriti, Delhi, India. March 2007