Narigunjan Lady Elephant
One of the most ancient arts of India, Phad paintings of the Bhilwara/Shahpura region of Rajasthan can be traced back to more than 700 years. Phad means ‘to read’ and these paintings are based on songs of legendary Pabuji and Devnarayan that are sung by Bhopa singers. The art known not only for its vibrant colours, but also the fact that it is accompanied by an oral tradition of rendering gatha (folklore). Hand-woven cloth is soaked overnight so that the threads get thicker. It is then starched, burnished for a smooth and shiny surface and then the Phad painter draws the entire narrative on this canvas. The figures are rounded, wear traditional attire and headgear and bright colours are used to fill them in. The colours are painstakingly extracted from natural sources—stones, flowers, herbs.
Painting by Vijay Joshi is made on cotton canvas with natural stone colors using brushes. Vijay Joshi is a National Merit Award–winning artist and member of Virasat: Nonpareil Shahpura's Phad Painting Training and Research Institute.