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Sanjay Chitara

image Art Form:

image Contact No:

image Home Address:
18 Vibhavari Society Part 1, Opp. Dena Bank, Vejalpur Road, Jivrajpark, Ahmedabad - 380051

image Award: State Award - 1999, National Award - 2000, Silver Medal in Folk Art - 2017, Gold Medal in Folk Art - 2018

image Note:

Mata ni pachedi literally means behind the Mother Goddess, and is a cloth that constitutes a temple of the goddess. When people of the nomadic Vaghari community of Gujarat were barred from entering temples, they made their own shrines with depictions of the Mother Goddess on cloth. The paintings usually have a set patterned quality, strong and bold, reinforced by the starkness of red and black, the only colours used. In the centre is the commanding figure of the 'Mata' or Mother Goddess in various iconographic forms, sitting on a throne or mounted on an animal.

In Ahmedabad, artisans make these paintings using the same methods followed 200 years ago. Cotton fabric is first de-starched and then treated with 'Harada' paste, to prepare it for absorbing the colour. Outlines of the figures are painted first, with black colour prepared from jaggery and iron. After this, red colour, extracted from tamarind seeds, is filled in and the areas supposed to be white are left blank.

After application of each colour, the fabric is boiled in alizarin solution, to bring out the colour, and then washed. For washing, the craftsmen go to the Sabarmati River as the cloth must be washed in running water only, so that any excess colour flows away, instead of staining the cloth. It takes days of patience and dedication, to prepare one piece. For instance, painting a cloth of 5 x 9 can take two months.

The strong lines and bold use of colour, that reflect the power and energy of the goddess, have now transformed to more artistic and detailed illustrations but the depiction style of mythical characters remains the same. The artists now incorporate many more colours such as indigo, green and yellow in the paintings, using the age old methods of extracting colour from natural materials.