Left to right: Connecting the backgrounds
of the big painting. Creating together.
the Power of
Can art be powerful enough
a medium to connect two
economically and culturally diverse groups of students totally unfamiliar with each
other? I put this question to the test
by introducing the value of harmony
and respect within diverse groups in
society. Just as all natural elements
are interdependent and interlinked,
so is society. I chose to work this out
through an introduction to Madhubani, a traditional folk art from a
remote region in India.
have survived from the epic period.
The popular epic, Ramayana gives
a vivid account of how the people of
Mithila decorated their homes with
mythological murals, added with a
popular ceremonial folk
paintings are the exclusive practice of
women artists, passed down through
generations from mother to daughter.
The central themes of the paintings
are love, fertility, and prosperity symbolized by natural elements such as
fish, parrots, elephants, turtles, the
sun, moon, trees, and lotus.
Originally, homemade colors for the
Madhubani paintings were obtained
from plant extracts like henna
leaves and flowers such as bougain-
restoration of natural resources
has always been of primary
importance in India. Artists
used the seasonal fallen flowers and leaves and stored the
extracts for later use.
Together students planned
their pictures and drew their
forms following the theme of
relationships and connections.
The tradition of painting walls for the
beautification of dwellings in Mithila
(the birthplace of this art form, in the
state of Bihar, India) is believed to