Jharkhand’s tribal marriage and harvest art on display

New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) Prototypes of Jharkhands traditional Khovar and Sohrai art, along with live demonstrations of art-making by tribal women artists, adorn the walls of India International Centre (IIC) here.

Symbolizing marriage and harvest seasons, these forms of art act as carriers of indigenous knowledge systems, and gives the viewer an insight into two significant rituals of tribal life in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh.

Khovar or comb-cut art is the marriage art of tribals and semi-Hindu tribes living in forested hill villages and agricultural valleys of the region. It used thick bases of black mud coated with white, and cut into motifs using bamboo, plastic combs, or fingers.

This is usually done in clay houses in which the bridal couples of the tribes live, and is considered an auspicious symbol of fertility and prosperity, IIC said in a statement.

Another tribal art form — Sohrai — uses wooden twigs or cloth swab for painting motifs about the winter harvest season.

Live demonstrations, being carried out by Sohrai artist Parvati Devi and Khovar artist Malo Devi, are a spectacle in themselves.

However, like many tribal art forms, the tradition of Khovar and Sohrai art seems to be in jeopardy, despite women artists’ cooperatives providing some relief.

In addition, Government of Jharkhand, in collaboration with Hazaribagh-based Virasat Trust, has been providing earth colours — red oxide and yellow ochre — to village artists to encourage painting, but the art forms still face a dearth of takers.

The exhibition is open for viewing till August 4.

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