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(Re)Using The Folk Art Of Jharkhand Through Modern Techniques Of Art

Guest writer Pratiksha Sarika Bara, in the following article, outlines her journey of creating customized products using the folk art of Jharkhand, emphasizing the need to preserve these art forms. The article also describes the entire procedure of creating this product.

Image Credit: Pratiksha Sarika Bara

My roots are from the “Land of Forest”

A place surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens,

and the land providing a panoramic view of flora and fauna.

A place known for the majestic Parasnath Hills,

and the land embracing the city of waterfalls.

A place rich in mineral resources like Uranium and Mica,

and the land producing the highest amounts of coal and steel in the country.

A place showcasing diversified heritage and tradition,

and a land welcoming modernist culture.

The praises of which are sung,

by the magnificent Asian Koel and magical Palash Tree.

The humble abode to the Adivasis,


I being an Adivasi from Jharkhand and an art lover found it very fascinating to study extensively about one of the most known art forms across the state i.e., ‘Sohrai and Khovar Painting’. My previous article was solely based on this particular awe-inspiring art form's origin, style and technique of this particular awe-inspiring art form. Stylistically, both forms of painting are the same, however, they commemorate different occasions. Sohrai paintings represent the winter harvest season of Jharkhand whereas, Khovar paintings are illustrated to decorate the bridal chamber during weddings. I personally admire the fact that this art form is exclusively practiced by Adivasi women illuminating them with a spotlight and creating path towards their socio-economic independence. The exploration of this breathtaking art inspired me to create a product including its essence. I, therefore, designed a helmet including the attractive composition of elements used in Sohrai-Khovar paintings. The motifs used in this mural art grabbed my attention as it produces a unique design and pattern.

I combined my design with a technique known as ‘Sticker Bombing’. It is basically a form of art in which several stickers are assembled together as collages to make a striking art piece. Sticker Bombing also known as Sticker Slapping is a street as well as graffiti art through which artists and creatives cover an entire surface with stickers to promote images, messages and identities. It is an affordable way to display aesthetic creativity just as a work of art or a source of delivering certain messages to others. There are a few variations to them which distinguish them from one another.

1) Classic: This version involves a lot of stickers stuck to an object which looks quiet eye appealing from a distance but when viewed up close, one realizes most of the stickers are not too interesting.

2) Slap Tagging: Randomly pasting stickers on post boxes or street signs is termed as slap tagging.

3) Mosaic: In this style, similar coloured stickers are used to create a complete artwork with detailed designs to catch the attention of the viewer as they approach closer to it.

Traditionally, there are three variations of this artform however, I used various combinations of these traditional variations, experimenting to obtain the design I wanted.

Helmet before designing; Image Credit: Pratiksha Sarika Bara

I incorporated the mosaic style in my work with a theme of the black and white colour palette. My foreknowledge instigated the vision to merge Jharkhand's art form with this technique. Subsequently, it proved to be a dynamic procedure providing me with the space to experiment with my imaginative faculty. The basic concept for me was constructing a qualitative product using minimum materials within a reasonable cost.

1) Adhesive sticker paper costing Rs 145, a pack of 20 sheets.

2) Sandpaper, Rs 14 per sheet.

3) A roll of wax paper costing Rs 99.

4) Water and glue mixture as sealing agent (alternatives: varnish spray paint or

mod podge).

To begin with, I printed a few Sohrai-Khovar images on the adhesive sticker paper. The first step is to prepare the base of the canvas, so I made sure the helmet was free of any dirt by cleaning it with soap and water and letting it dry before I proceeded. To ensure that all the dirt particles have been removed I scraped the surface with sandpaper which also got rid of the existing paint on the helmet. Thereafter, I gave the printed motif images different shapes followed by peeling off the back side of the cut-out adhesive papers and placing it on the helmet surface according to my design. Further, in order to eliminate air bubbles from ruining the design I placed a piece of wax paper on top of it and gently squeezed out any possible air bubbles using a scrapper (wax paper helps to protect the design from the scrapper). The final step was to seal the entire design (I used a mixture of water and glue in an appropriate ratio). Adding two to three layers of this mixture enhanced the entire artwork by imparting extra gloss to the design.

The final outcome of this project was beyond what I had initially imagined and I was completely satisfied with my efforts. It is my strong belief that artistic creation and aesthetic innovation is a therapy transmitting an aura of peace within the mind, soul and body. It is also important to note that we fail to remember the authenticity of our cultural art such as Sohrai-Khovar and ignore the essence of crafts such as Sticker Bombing which tends to decline their value and enlists them under alien art forms. Therefore, it's essential to keep such art forms alive within the community by earnestly showcasing their artistry charm, delicacy and elegance to the modernist population.

Helmet after using the Sohrai-Khovar art through Sticker Bombing technique; Image Credit: Pratiksha Sarika Bara

About The Author: Pratiksha Sarika Bara holds a gold medal for Masters' Degree in Fashion Designing, from Ranchi University. She also has an educational background in Economics; hence her works are intersectional, cutting across fashion design, gender and economics.


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