>> Chitragara (Mural Painters)
1.0 Craft Identity
1.1 Name of Craft: Mural Painting
1.2 Vernacular equivalent: Chitragara
1.3 Craft description: Murals depicting the lives and legends of the gods are traditionally used to adorn the walls of temples. Chitragara, also called Bannagara or Chitrakaras, are a class of Oriya painters originating in Ganjam.
2.0 Locations (within survey boundary):Kanakagiri
3.0 Historical overview
Chitragara are painters, decorators, gilders etc and make lacquer toys. They are considered synonymous with Gudigars and are traditionally Hindus.This community of artisans is responsible for painting elaborate murals that depict the lives of the gods and religious legends on the walls of temple complexes and smaller village shrines. Such artistic representations adorn the stone ceilings and walls of some of the ancient temples at Hampi.
4.0 Works Process
4.1 Seasonality: through the year but more during annual temple festivals
4.2: Materials and their origins: traditionally mineral and vegetable based dyes were extracted
4.3 Tools: Brushes, Paints
4.4 Work Pattern: on order only
4.5 Products: Murals and wall paintings.
5.0 Craftsperson’s perspective
The number of people learning the artform is decreasing, as younger generations are not keen on taking it up. WIth the advent of computer aided design and cheap printing on flex banners, it is now rare to find mural artistes – the artform is dying. The Chitragara interviewed believed that while there continues to be great value for art, the value for the artist has taken a plunge. Neither the maker not the technique used to create the work holds as much value as the end product does.
6.0 Lister’s comments
6.1 Uniqueness: Because of the decreasing work, the Chitragaras have been donating some of their artworks to organisations such as the Kannada University in order to preserve them and rekindle interest in the artform amongst the public. They also make similar murals and undertake decorative wall artwork for households, typically during celebrations like marriage ceremonies. These are an additional source of income, and exhibit lesser investment of time and labour.
6.2 Socio-economic data based on field interviews: Only Hindus can be allowed to do this work, according to the craftsperson interviewed. Specifically, the worker must belong to the Arya Kshatriya Chitragaras.