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Bringing the art of Pichvai back to life

Breathing life into the traditional Rajasthani Pichvai paintings is revivalist Pooja Singhal who will be showcasing a contemporary interpretation of this art form with the exhibition Pichvai: Tradition & Beyond.

While Rajasthan’s famous temple town Nathdwara is best known for the much-revered shrine of Shrinathji, not too many people know that it’s also home to Pichvai art, the exquisitely-detailed hand-painted textiles traditionally hung behind the idol of Shrinathji. Considered the incarnation of Lord Krishna, Shrinathji is worshipped by the Hindu sect of Vaishnavs. While Rajasthan’s famous temple town Nathdwara is best known for the much-revered shrine of Shrinathji, not too many people know that’s also home to Pichvai works, the exquisitely-detailed hand-painted textiles traditionally hung behind the idol of Shrinathji. Considered the incarnation of Lord Krishna, Shrinathji is worshipped by the Hindu sect of Vaishnavs.

The beauty of a Pichvai lies in its details. While they may appear fairly simplistic, they are layered with spiritual significance and symbolism that beautifully depict the different moods and phases of Lord Krishna. Traditionally, these were created by artists residing in the ‘Chitron ki galli’ that literally translates to ‘street of pictures.’ Unfortunately, just like many traditional Indian art forms, this textile tradition too has been slowly declining over the last few decades. Taking up the cause of this art form and its artisans is revivalist Pooja Singhal who’s been working with them to recreate this art form. Determined not to let it slip into oblivion, her attempt has been to give it contemporary relevance so that it appeals to the younger generation. Her work towards creating a platform and supporting the skilled artisans took the form of the Pichvai: Tradition & Beyond atelier. This weekend approximately 400 of these art works will be displayed at an exhibition in Mumbai with the idea to preserve this rich heritage and sustain the livelihood of the artisans.

Pichvai: Tradition & Beyond will be open for public viewing between 7th and 15th April, 2018 from 11:00am – 8:00pm at Famous Studios in Mumbai.

Pichvai Tradition & Beyond - Chandrama ka Shringar - Mughal Miniature - Stone colour on cloth - Size - 33 x 45 in.
Mughal Miniature, Stone colour on cloth, Size:33 x 45 in
Pichvai Tradition & Beyond - The Haveli of Srinathji - Temple map - Stone colour on cloth - 72 x 95.5 inch
The Haveli of Srinathji, Temple map, Stone colour on cloth, Size: 72 x 95.5 inch
Pichvai Tradition & Beyond - Goverdhan Pooja - Nathdwara Contemporary - Stone colour on cloth - Size - 68 x 44 in.
Goverdhan Pooja, Nathdwara Contemporary, Stone colour on cloth, Size: 68 x 44 in
Pichvai Tradition & Beyond - Krishna with Gopis - Deccan - Gold, silver and stone colour on cloth - Size - 80 x 82 in.
Krishna with Gopis, Gold, silver and stone colour on cloth, Size: 80 x 82 in
Pichvai Tradition & Beyond - Varsha Pichvai - Deccan Miniature - Gold and stone colour on basli - Size - 15 x 13.5 in
Varsha Pichvai, Deccan Miniature, Gold and stone colour on basli, Size: 15 x 13.5 in

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