Mithila artist use Covid Bride motif to raise awareness

Pushpa Kumari is a younger generation Mithila artist who has retained the Mithila paintings’ distinctive styles and conventions while addressing new subjects such as women’s rights in India.

Dating from the fourteenth century, Mithila painting and drawing is an ancient art form traditionally practised by women in the Mithila region of Bihar in northern India and Nepal.

For several centuries it was used to mark rituals and ceremonies, particularly weddings, and created mostly on the walls of homes. The Madhubani district is known for its artists, hence the form is sometimes referred to as Madhubani.

The works are characterised by intricate line drawing, geometric patterns and elaborate symbolism. The artist has created a traditional Mithila bride, now popular as ‘Covid Bride’ shown wearing a mask and holding the Earth in her hands in a bid to save it from covid-19.

She draws on the iconography of Mithila wall paintings to create her own interpretations of traditional stories and historical events, and to reflect on issues facing many women in regional communities in India. 'Saving the girl child' employs images of fecundity and Mother Nature — often used in Mithila painting to celebrate marriages and union — to protest against the death of female babies, who are often regarded as a burden to their parents in parts of India, in contrast to sons, whose births are often celebrated.

I request you and the editorial board to kindly assign a journalist to further pursue this story in detail. It will add light to issues related to problems faced by the artisans working in the Indian cottage industry sector.

I am certain that the campaigning for this projects’ funds will gain traction from all people interested in traditional Indian art and culture, people involved directly or indirectly with the local cottage industries and sensitive towards traditional art.

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