Deities & Marriages in Mithila Painting
March 5 - April 17, 2011
Curated by Malini Bakshi
For centuries, perhaps for thousands of years, women in the ancient cultural region of Mithila in Eastern India, have been painting on their floors and the inner and outer walls of their family compounds. With vibrant color and complex design, their art celebrates, protects and makes sacred or auspicious space in their homes for family rituals and events. Though there are a few male contemporary painters, this is primarily an art tradition handed down through women from generation to generation.
Mithila region has a rich history as a cultural center that nurtured great Buddhists, philosophers, scholars, artists and writers. Today, the population is mostly Hindu and much of the iconography used by Mithila artists comes from legends, folklore, and the Hindu pantheon. Encouraged to expand their creativity to painting on handmade paper, their art has become a source of desperately needed income and attracted international attention to their work. The paintings have a glowing vitality that draws from both ancient tradition and contemporary innovation.
The Bolinas Museum invited guest curator Malini Bakshi, founder of Pink Mango, an organization dedicated nurturing appreciation of contemporary Mithila art, to bring an exhibition of Mithila paintings to Coastal Marin. Bakshi is co-author, with David Szanton, an anthropologist and co-founder of Ethnic Arts Foundation, of the bookMithila Painting: The Evolution of an Art Form.