Kalighat paintings or ‘patas’ were first created in Bengal in the mid 19th century by traditional scroll painters known as ‘patuas’ who had moved to Kolkata attracted by its prosperity as the capital of British Indian and by the newly established Calcutta School of Art there. To make a living, these artists began painting around the old Kali temple in the city’s southern Kalighat neighbourhood, and selling their quickly executed works to devotees and tourists visiting the shrine as souvenirs. Blending Indian subjects with newly learned Western techniques, these unique paintings with their characteristic bold, single-stroke outlines soon came to be classified as a distinct, urban school of painting in India. Kalighat paintings are known for their simple subjects, swift execution, vivid colours, lack of perspective, generously curved figures, and also their satirical undertones.
Almost entirely displaced by cheaper printed versions in the 1940s, today, the tradition of Kalighat painting has been renewed by some of the descendents of the original patuas like Sanuar Chitrakar. In addition, the tradition has evolved, and contemporary Kalighat paintings reflect a number of new subjects including modern family life, social evils and global events. Sanuar Chitrakar lives and works in Naya village, a community of 'patuas' or artists and their families, in Midnapore, West Bengal. Sanuar now strives to revive the lost glory of Kalighat 'patas' through his work, combining traditional techniques with contemporary subjects and sensibilities.
The long and thin orientation of this painting allows it to be easily rolled and stored along with his scrolls when not on display.
Artist : Sanuar Chitrakar, the Patua Artist from West Bengal.