From Japan to France, Padma winner Baua Devi has propelled Madhubani to the world


Interestingly, even at 78, a renowned artist, Baua Devi uses twigs, matches, fingers and natural colors for his paintings.


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Eeven if Baua Devi looks out of her house nestled in the narrow alleys of Delhi, she can’t help but mentally paint a scene straight out of the epic, Ramayana.

Ashoka tree (Saraca asoca) outside his balcony reminds him of the famous image of Sita sitting under the tree in the Ravana of Lanka, waiting for Lord Rama.

“I wish I could paint my wall. I would like to infuse all the bright colors, and that would be my ode to the centenary art form of Madhubani, “said renowned artist Devi. The Better India.

Although aging has brought the 78-year-old woman to cut down on her most favorite thing in the world – painting – her enthusiasm for art has not diminished at all.

Devi, who was born in the village of Jitwapur in Bihar, entered the world of Madhubani through an age-old tradition when she was just 13 years old. girl.

Devi receives Padma Shri from former president Pranab Mukherjee

“According to custom, all the women of the village meet at a wedding or a special occasion to draw complex geometric and linear patterns on the walls of the house. Art would generally be scenes from mythology and nature as symbols of love and prosperity. It was until the 1970s. Then people started practicing Madhubani on paper and canvas, “said Devi, winner of Padma Shri.

Devi’s talent was recognized during the famine of the 60s in Bihar; she was a teenager. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said eye-catching paintings could be used to create livelihoods after a troubled period.

Devi was one of the pioneering talented artists handpicked by PM Gandhi’s team to transfer his mud paintings to paper.

Image may contain: Baua Devi

“My first commercial painting cost 50 points when I worked with the National Crafts Museum. There has been no turning back since. Over the years, my paintings have traveled to several countries, including Spain, Germany, Japan and France, “she said.

Devi painted Krishan and Gopis in 1977. Source

Interestingly, one of his recent paintings was sold for a whopping 50,000 rupees!

Devi has a particular style of painting that ranges from small sheets to canvases as large as 10 feet. Despite modern techniques, she chose to paint with twigs, matches, feathers and fingers.


“No amount of brushes or colors can match the traditional style. Only natural dyes were used, such as black came from charcoal, turmeric yellow, rice white, indigo blue, marigold saffron, an approach that maintains authenticity, ”adds she.

Most of Devi’s paintings spread mythological accounts of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Gods like Krishna, Kali, Durga, and animals and nature. However, her favorite paintings of all time are those where she depicts Sita’s point of view.

When asked what her favorite painting is, she refuses to choose one: “How can I choose between my babies? All of my paintings are amalgamations of customs, history and love. Madhubani is my identity, so choosing one would be unfair. “

Here’s a look at some of Devi’s great photos:

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All images are from Baua Devi

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

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