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Village of Painters profiles the West Bengali village of Naya, a small agricultural outpost that is home to a unique caste of itinerant scroll painters. The Patuas of West Bengal are a traditional artisan caste specializing in the production of painted narrative scrolls and the performance of songs to accompany their unrolling. These artisans have been plying their trade in this region of India at least since the thirteenth century and possibly earlier. The book features a wide range of contemporary scrolls and examines how their makers are keeping the art vibrantly alive in the rapidly changing cultural landscape of West Bengal.
Posted July 21, 2006
Village of Painters is a book for those who are fascinated by how culture and art change each other as both evolve. Its vivid, colorful images and captivating text bring the individual scroll painters of this remote village to life. We get to know the issues that concern them as, through hundreds of years, those proficient in their craft have traveled from village to village unrolling their paintings and singing their stories to gathering crowds. For centuries, the scrolls reflected primarily sacred texts, didactic art and song to guide one¿s life and one¿s faith. But in recent years, as media, travel, and globalization have made the artists more aware of issues outside their own country, their work begins to dramatically include them. In this stylistic art form today, contemporary stories of 9/11 and the disastrous tsunami (just two brief examples) can be found and it is fascinating to learn in this book how that has occurred. After many years of research, Frank Korom brings this unique dialogue about world events to our attention. There will be an exhibition of a fine selection of the scrolls and an opportunity to meet with one of the genre¿s artists at the Museum of International Folk Arts in Santa Fe, NM, near the end of October. --Rosemary Carstens, Editor, FEAST A quarterly newsletter about books, art, food, film, and travelWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.