Painting is a medium of visual expression. It does not always need too many colours to stand out. Mandana paintings are one of such form. It is a form of tribal art in India that has survived over the ages. It is done in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh by one of the oldest tribal communities, the ‘Meenas’.
This art is done on walls and floors, both within and surrounding the house, as a way to ward off evil and welcome the blessings of gods into the home. Within the Meena community, this painting is done predominantly by women, as traditionally it is their social role to take care of the house and the family.
This art form is not passed on through any formal training neither is it recognized as a discipline. On the contrary, girls learn the art by observing and emulating their mothers.
Initially, the base is prepared with cow dung mixed with rati, a local clay, and red ochre. The pictures are drawn onto the wall and flooring using various tools such as brush made up of date twig, a clump of hair and cotton. Lime or chalk powder is used for making the motifs. Once the motif is designed then it is left for drying. At that point in time, the dried motif is filled with colors. The color scheme of these paintings is very simple and basic, i.e. White and red. These colors are chosen specifically in their natural surroundings. White paint or Khadiya and red paint or geru are made up of brick.
The Mandana paintings design motifs include Peacock, Lord Ganesh, Geometrical shapes, jaali, Vedic yagna, women at work, tigers and floral motifs, etc.
These Paintings are also called as Mandala Paintings in most parts of Nepal.
The motifs of these paintings are inspired by beliefs that pertain to auspiciousness and good omens.
There are many designs one sees in Mandana paintings that are directly influenced by architectural features as well as geometry.
The usual themes of a Mandana are elements of nature such as varieties of flowers and plants, birds and animals. Other prominent imagery in this art form includes deities or others that are perceived to have taken the form of an animal (also known as zoomorphs) as well as humans as depicted in the earliest forms of wall art (known as anthromorphs).
As modern life and socio-economic development have taken precedence over altruistic sentiments of the community, there seems to be very little time and space to practice this art.
Moreover, there are also practical problems that have hindered regular practice. For instance, homes in today’s day and age, even in most villages, are made of brick and mortar.
One of the precursory conditions for the practice of this art is clay walls or earth as they tend to absorb the color and lend a certain relief and texture (that is characteristic of Mandana), thus making it viable to paint on walls.
Have look at these videos, to know more about Mandana.
Last but not the least, in my next post, I am going to present a brand new collection of Mandana on Khadi, with hand-painted Mandana by Mural Artist ‘Rakesh K Memrot’.
To know him and his work, check this article from my Blog:
“Rakesh : The Mural Artist”
Credits : Utsavpedia,Wikipedia