14 May, 2021

Madhubani Diary

Dalit artist Malvika Raj paints a portrait with words...on how she uses colours and forms to showcase her world view.

Madhubani Diary
Buddha In The Honeyed Wood

Art speaks the language of beauty, but what it says relates to truth. And there can be neither beauty nor truth without justice. Often, people misconceive beauty as being about order and symmetry, resistant to change. In my life—growing up in Bihar, aware of caste realities from early childhood—I’ve often encountered that instinct. Once, during one of my exhibitions at Patna Art College, a saffron-clad man came up to me and rebuked me for placing Lord Buddha in the centre of Madhubani art. How could I subvert tradition by not painting the Buddha as the ninth avatar of Vishnu, he asked. It was nothing new; I’ve been subjected to many such caustic remarks. What’s my answer? For me, the Buddha is human, deeply human, and that’s the very subject of art. His teachings are steeped in rationality and justice—that’s why Babasaheb Ambedkar was attracted to Buddhism. Those ideas resonate with us...

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