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Phad painting draws crowds to Samanwaya

Phad painting, believed to have taken birth in the 10th century, comprises a narrative involving the painting and a performance thereof.

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Sitting on a long scroll canvas spread on the floor of Durbar Hall Art Gallery, artists Nand Kishore Joshi, his brother Suresh Joshi and sons Mukul Joshi, Rajesh Joshi and Lokesh Joshi are diligently painting miniature figures, making outlines with natural dyes and perfecting the work, a Phad painting – a popular folk art in Rajasthan that has until now been largely unfamiliar to Keralites.

Phad painting, believed to have taken birth in the 10th century, comprises a narrative involving the painting and a performance thereof. The painting, on a stretched handmade canvas, is traditionally done by the Joshi clan of Rajasthan’s Chippa caste and the performance by artists from the villages of Nagaur and Jodhpur districts. The Joshi family, minus Mukul’s brother Prakash Joshi, a national award winner, has come down to make the painting over the ten days of Samanwaya, the ongoing arts and cultural festival of the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi.

“Phad, in local dialect, means to read out a story and we do both mythological tales and contemporary ones. What we are doing here is the tale of Jodhpur king Pabuji Rathore, a protector of cows and camels. Handmade scroll and organic dyes, from trees and strones, are used to make the painting, which ends with a performance involving characters Bhopa and Bhopi (male and female),” explains Mukul Joshi.

The completed painting, on an18-ft-long and 5-ft-wide hand-woven canvas, is displayed on a large ground where the performers go with an oil lamp at night to introduce each character and narrate the tale. A complete performance takes seven nights. There’s a performance on DH ground on July 23, the concluding day of Samanwaya,” he says.

Source: The Hindu

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