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About Kalighat painting

Kalighat painting is a modern school of art from Kolkatta in India. It gets its name because of the thriving ‘patuas’ or cloth-painters communities around the kali temples at Kalighat in Kolkatta. These paintings are primarily done on cloth or paper scrolls and the primary themes were derived from mythological characters. The earliest scrolls depicted scenes from epics such as Rama Charita Manas. With time, the themes moved onto civil life in Calcutta thereby giving the paintings a more secular and contemporary nature. The brushwork requires the expertise of a skilled craftsmen to be deft, seamless, flowing and a smooth art form. To create the paintings, the brush used is made of goat or squirrel hair and the black coloured ink used was made using soot by burning an oil lamp under a pot. The other colours used were powdered coloured stones or vegetable dies. The dry colours were mixed in gum or water and then used to paint on the cloth or fabric scrolls. Very often, these artists use their painting to narrate the story their painting depicts by singing and pointing to specific parts of the scroll.





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