A Study On Visual Characteristics Of Rural Mural Art Forms Of Eastern Jharkhand

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Rural India is known for various folk and tribal art forms like floor art, wall art, textile, sculpture, pottery, and painting. These art forms are mainly made for rituals, superstition and decoration purpose before and during the festivals and ceremonies. In different parts of India, various communities like Saura from Uttar Pradesh, Pithora and Gond from Madhya Pradesh, Dusad and Brahmin from Bihar, Warli from Maharastra, Bhumij, and Kurmi from Jharkhand are involved in showcasing their artistic skill on their mud houses. In Jharkhand region, the villages of Hazaribagh district are internationally known for Sohrai and Khobar art. The rural communities (Bhumij and Kurmi) paint their mud houses with various motifs before the Sohrai and Diwali festivals. Following these art forms (Sohrai and Khobar), an investigation was done in the eastern part of Jharkhand in three administrative divisions; Santhal Pargana, North Chhotanagpur, and Kolhan. It is found that there are five kinds of mural art forms such as Likhan gadhan, Rong baha, Jaunra baha/phul, Jadopatia and Guruj baha are being practiced by the rural communities of eastern Jharkhand. These art forms have hardly been documented or got scholars attention for research investigation. To study in-depth of these art forms, field visit was conducted in 11 districts (Deoghar, Dumka, Godda, Jamtara, Pakur, Shahibganj, Bokaro, Dhanbad, Giridih, Saraikela-Kharsawan and Purbi Singbhum) of eastern Jharkhand and it was noticed that these art forms are parallel to the Sohrai and Khobar art but contain different styles, forms, and features. In eastern Jharkhand, Santhal, Lohra, Kurmi, Kumhar and Ho communities, paints various visual forms (e.g., Baha, Jan janwar, and Hor) on the external and internal wall of the houses. There are few relevant pieces of literature on rural mural art forms of Jharkhand in the form of inquiry into the painted mud houses by ethnographer Daniel J. Rycroft (2010), social activist Bulu Imam (2011) and architect & research scholar Gauri Bharat (2015). These relevant literatures provide information about the aesthetic, narration, material and methods of mural art forms of Jharkhand. However, not many resources or documentation is found on the rural mural art forms of eastern Jharkhand, and there is a need for a detailed investigation of physical or visual aspects of these art forms. This lacuna provides a tremendous scope and opportunity to do an in-depth study on the mural art forms of eastern Jharkhand. For the detailed understanding of the art form, this study aimed to identify its visual characteristics. The main objectives of this research work are, 1. To identify the visual characteristics of the rural mural art form of eastern Jharkhand. 2. To document the rural mural art forms of eastern Jharkhand. 3. To understand the rural lifestyle of eastern Jharkhand The study follows qualitative research techniques, and the methodology of this study devided in two phases; A. Data collection B. Visual analysis. Photo documentation and the ethnographic study was adopted to collect the data. In Photo documentation, Photography was used as a key visual method for documentation. In Ethnography, interview, observation, and photo-interview was adopted for the data collection. To analyse the physical characteristics of the art forms visualization, New formal analysis model was followed. The analysis was done in two steps; first was the analysis of the individual visual form and second was the analysis of visual form with the wall. Number of visual characteristics were identified after the visual analysis. To validate the extracted visual characteristics, expert reviews with artist and designers were conducted in different cities of India. Combining both visual characteristics (identified through visual analysis and through visual arts experts’ review), key visual characteristics of Likhan gadhan, Rong baha, Jaunara baha, Jadopatia and Guruj Baha art form were established.
Supervisor: D. Udaya Kumar