- RCDSC Working to Promote Mithila Arts of Nepal
- The original inspiration of Mithila Art emerged out of the local women’s craving for religiousness and an intense desire to be one with the GOD. Through this creative art women could express their desires, dreams, expectations, hopes and aspirations to people.
Mithila art is one of the religious and cultural practices of the women of the Maithili region of Nepal, and the geographical region extending up to Bihar and beyond of India. Religious theme and background is linked to the ancestral past. It is said that Mithila Art was originated about three thousand years back when great Aryans started a settled life in this region and had started making pictures on the walls for decoration. dates back to 7th century AD.
Maithili culture and Mithila arts are firmly connected contributing idealise each other. Maithili culture has its own language and richer literary diction, and a women’s tradition of painting and handicraft which is passed down from generation to generation. Examples of the women’s arts can be seen in the small houses and huts in the villages of Mahottari, Siraha, Saptari, Morang, Rautahat and Dhanusha. Visitors to the Rural Community Development Cent (RCDSC) can notice the artistic tradition alive on the walls of its office rooms and high quality pictures in almost all the government and Non-Government Organizations located in these regions.
The uniquely designed women’s training by RCDSC is the first of its kind to celebrate the Maithili arts and use the traditional arts of women for their empowerment. The painting tradition varies from caste to caste. The art of Brahmins and Kayastha is closely tied to religious ritual, as exemplified in the making of aripana.
To make aripana a woman grinds rice with some water into a paste called pithar. Dipping two fingers into the pithar, she makes graceful lace-like designs on the mud floor of her home or courtyard. She then dots the designs with red powder. Women have a repertoire of such designs that may be drawn for worship of the house deity or for rituals related to marriage or a particular full moon day. The arts of the women are transient. Rains destroy the mud and painted designs or in the spring during a New Year festival, paintings are covered over with mud.
For most Maithili women the practice of painting on paper is fairly new. The art on paper has come to be called Madhubani art, because Maithili culture in Madhubani India was particularly strong and because the painting tradition was invigorated during a project for drought relief in the 1960s in which women were encouraged to paint. Since the establishment of the RCDSC, the Maithili art of Nepal has taken a direction of its own, to be distinguished around the world. Figures are shown without perspective, often in profile and with large eyes. Natural images such as leaves, lotus flowers, parrots and fish, fill empty space in all types of scenes. Careful attention is paid to color and pattern. Designs border the page. These spontaneous paintings are shown on rough handmade Nepali paper.
RCDSC was established in 1997 as NGO (non-government organization) with the hope of encouraging women to keep their artistic skills alive. Visitors are welcomed to visit the RCDSC art center, meet the artists and learn about their artistic tradition. RCDSC has concentrated training in a broad range of skills. Because the market for painting was deemed limited, women were taught how to use their painting techniques and traditional designs with other media such as printing, ceramics, sewing and weaving. Focus was given to training women who were poor, uneducated and had little chance to experience the outside world. Because the arts of Maithili are the women’s own, RCDSC believes that women should have jurisdiction over the marketing of their art and that profits should be cooperatively managed by the producers. In order to empower women, they are given training in literacy, record-keeping, costing and quality control, marketing, management, leadership, team building, gender awareness, planning and evaluation. It is hoped that RCDSC provides a model women’s empowerment program, wishing to harness tradition with technology (social marketing) to achieve social change.
Visit us to get some paintings of historical importance and contribute how an artist gets economical encouragement to produce more artistic work adding up modern values to the traditional art and scriptures. Your contribution not only adds up back-up to the amateur artist but also provides you a pleasing visual that connects your emotions forming a common bondage with Maithili women’s experiences and cultural heritage.