Kalighat Painting - A Folk Art with Modern Style

Aditi Gupta

Kolkata (earlier known as Calcutta) has always been the 'Unspoken' Cultural Capital of India. Every Indian can vouch for it! Calcutta has a big influence of Maa Kali (Hindu Goddess who embodies woman power), that's how the city derived its very name. Kolkata is the home to many artists who have influenced Indian narrative in many ways. One such art form which took birth here was Kalighat art

Kalighat painting originated during the 19th Century on the banks of Ma Kali temple (also known as KALIGHAT).  that has evolved as a unique genre of Indian painting, and is gaining popularity in the Modern India. From the depiction of various figures of Gods and other folk characters, these paintings use bold and deep colours.

Kalighat Paintings are done on a mill-made paper or fabric and the colors used in this art are mostly vegetable and homemade dyes. For example, yellow was produced from the Turmeric root, blue was made from petals of Aparajita flower, and black was produced from common soot by burning an oil lamp under a pot. Silver and golden colours were also used for ornamentation (source Wikipedia)

Artists who make them are called Patua. In early days, Patuas used to set up their stalls near temples and used to sell these paintings to tourists as a souvenir. Kalighat paintings have a very distinct feature: The Eyes. They are big and very expressive as if they want to say a story..


About the Kalighat Painting artist -  Mamani Chitrakar  😇🙏🏼

Started her Patua (Kalighat artists are called Patua) training at a tender age of 7, Mamani ji has been painting and singing the songs related to the form since childhood. She has been trained at home by her family.

This painting got its name from the Kalighat Temple in Kolkata which flourished as a popular art form amongst localites.

Mamani ji says that every painting has a meaning or is related to a mythological story.

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