Who are we
Chitrataru was formed by Patuas of Naya village in 2007, who came together to revive their unique tradition of Patachitra and Pater Gaan.
In 2013, the MSME Department Govt. of West Bengal nominated Pingla as a Rural Craft Hub of Bengal. The region has now become a destination for cultural tourism and is a best practice documented by the UNWTO. The Department of Tourism, Govt. of West Bengal is keen on developing facilities and tourist accessibility to Pingla. Since 2010, the artists have been holding a three day long village festival “PotMaya” where patrons, art enthusiasts, school and college youth, foreign nationals come to visit and learn about the craft.
To continue and sustain the tradition of Patachitra, older artists are involved in teaching the art form to the youth and children in the community. Two of our members- Gururpada Chitrakar and Anwar Chitrakar have won National award. There are more than 100 artists who have been awarded with the State and District award.
Where we work
We work with 270 artisans in Naya village in Pingla Block of Paschim Medinipur district (West Bengal).
How we work
Patachitra was traditionally a cloth based scroll painting. The Patuas, sing songs called ‘Pater gaan’, as they unfurl stories with their brush on cloth. They now also paint on a variety of mediums such as paper, wood, etc.
Colors used in the craft are naturally extracted from different vegetables, fruits and flowers by the artists. The red colour is extracted from Segun / Teak, Jaffran, the blue from Aparajita, white from Kusum Mati, green from runner beans, yellow from turmeric and brown from teak and sagun. They are extracted by squeezing the leaves and collecting the juice in a pot or coconut shell. A cap full of gum made from wood apple (Bel) is mixed with each crushed colour and mixed by artists, using their fingers. The pots are then kept in sunlight to darken the colour. The amount of sun exposure equates to the darkness of the colour. In Pingla artists mostly use natural colour. They use chemical colours as and when required.
The painters do not use pencil or charcoal for their preliminary drawings. They draw directly using the brush. Once the colors are filled in the products are left for drying in the sunlight.
Craft process certified for:
The Patuas, have started painting on social issues (such as HIV, child marriage, etc), biographical and contemporary events (e.g. Tsunami, 9/11, etc). Besides painting on scrolls, the Patuas have now diversified to painting on products like sarees, dress materials, home décor item, bags etc.