Chau Dancers of West Bengal & Patachitra Exhibitions

Planet Art eXchange : PAX Festival 2010

 POster-showing-traditional-Bengali-dancer-and-paintingsSaturday 20th November 7pm

Chau Dance is a genre of Indian tribal martial dance, popular in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa. Saturday’s performances feature the nine Purulia Chau dancers led by Jagannath Choudhury, performing three pieces.

Mahishashur Mardini : 30 mins.  The story of Goddess Durga coming to Earth to kill the demon (the Asura) and save the people, involving a long battle of power between the Gods and the demon.  Hindus commemorate this great battle each autumn during Durga Puja, or Navratri - the Festival of Nine Nights.

Thus Spoke Tagore : 15 mins.  Based on poems by Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), West Bengali poet, novelist, musician, painter and playwright, who reshaped Bengali literature and music and who was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.  This Indian-Western collaboration explores Tagore poems on Beauty, Life, Love, Man and Time.  Original Music Composition created by Richard Gordon Smith.

‘Dakini Mongol’ : 25 mins.  An adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This is a unique presentation combining the two folk forms of Chau dance and Patachitra painting.

Sunday 21th November : 10 am – 5 pm  :  Patachitra Exhibition.  Featuring the works of Yakub Chitrakar, who specializes in Tribal art-based Patachitra and of Manimala Chitrakar, whose patachitras are curated in museums in Paris.

Patachitras are one of the oldest audio-visual forms of communication in the world, practiced among the indigenous people of West Bengal. They are iconic depictions of Hindu gods and goddesses, made on manuscripts, walls, palm leaves, silk, cotton canvases, wooden boards, saris and other clothing.

Patachitras creators are mainly from families which live around the temples which employ them to make these paintings for the purpose of worship. The artists, making these paintings usually do not have other sources of livelihood.

Patachitras are known for their intricate lines and clever play of colors. The process of creation, from basic starting materials to the lacquer on the painting, is lengthy and complex.  Relying on natural elements for its colors and materials, Patachitras show how art can be practiced in complete harmony with nature, without the use of toxic paints and chemicals.