Naya Village – Rural Art Attack

If you too come from a convent school like mine, you can feel the presence of God in your life. At my school, we are always guided to search for the opportunities that He places in our lives and step into them willingly the moment we recognise them.

So, here I am with another God sent opportunity to visit Naya.

Naya is a small artistic village in Pingla which lies in the Mednipur district of West Bengal. It can be easily reached from Kolkata in a couple of hours in your own conveyance or in a little more time in the public transport.

Weather in Kolkata had been acting strange in December this year. Though it had already delivered its share of rain in the monsoon, we were still experiencing rain showers every now and then. Braving the weather, we started on a Sunday morning On on the NH6 highway to reach Debra. From Debra we took a left to reach the Balichak (sub-district of Mednipur) railway crossing.

 

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Balichak Railway Crossing

 

From Balichak, Naya village of Pingla was a smooth drive away. The distance of eight kilometres from there could be easily covered in twenty minutes. Unlike few contents on Google, roads are well maintained and a delight to drive on.

 

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After a few weeks of research and study, we were finally here in the remote village of Naya where art runs in the blood of each villager. 

 

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These talented artists have successfully passed their skills to their successors, just like one of them was demonstrating it to me. Here he showed me how to make natural colours from flowers and leaves which are available in abundance to us. These natural colours when used for painting adhere to the surface and never comes off unlike artificial fabric colours which get washed away even if they are slightly mishandled.

 

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Painted Narrative Scroll of Ramayana

 

The pictures above are of Shyamsundar Chitrakaar and family. These folk artists are painters, story-tellers and singers but they truly specialise in painting scrolls. Since the use of internet is now a common thing in every household, their art is reviving again. Art lovers from India and all over the world are coming to this remote village to see and learn their talent. Frank J. Korom, a professor at Boston University and a research associate at the museum of folk art has written a book called Village Of Painters on the people of Naya. 

Many of these potuas have already been to all over the world to exhibit their art. In their endeavour, Banglanatak.com, a social enterprise is helping them flourish. Please visit them at http://www.banglanatak.com to see how they have been using culture as a tool to bring change in the society. After a short conversation with the potuas, we got to know that every year some of them are taken abroad to countries like Norway, USA, Scotland, Paris, Japan, Taiwan etc to showcase their art at events organised by banglanatak which also bears their travelling and lodging expense. Its a huge support coming their way and I hope that more organisations and people come forward to help them.

 

 

The village has its own museum and folk art centre. The above pictures are from the Patachitra museum in Naya which exhibits the bartered objects collected all over India by a potua in exchange of his patachitras.

Some of their more appealing works !

 

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In November, there is a three day festival held in this village called Pot Maya. This annual patachitra festival brings alive colours, stories and art and celebrates the success of local artists. This festival is also aired by popular tv channel Doordarshan and covered by Banglanatak.com.

 

 

With my writing I intend to bring more love and business to them. I being too young now to help them in any other way I feel its the least I could do for them. If you happen to visit them after reading this post you will be welcomed by the ‘potuas’ with open arms and you shall return spellbound with their talent and art.

 

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22 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow that seems to be kind of place which would interest me so much. Have been to Kolkata but didn’t know about this place. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Teja says:

    This is so interesting. I like reading about these random gems of places where people do their thing and it’s become such a character of the place where all other places have lost theirs and become part of the sameness.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love visiting rural places and learn about their livelihood, culture and art. Naya Village looks like an ideal place.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Denny George says:

    There are so many villages in India which practice traditional arts and crafts that the rest of the world knows nothing about. I really appreciate your efforts to bring one of those to light.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bonita says:

    You write so well! Grammar is perfect, flow of ideas, humour, suspense and information in equal measure. You opening paragraph kept me glued till the end! Keep up.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rajat says:

    I’ve been to few places in Rajasthan where art and craft work is done but this one is different. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ansh997x says:

    I am planning to backpack across West Bengal in March. Would love to visit this place.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I really enjoyed reading this. It’s great that you can appreciate the people in West Bengal’s art and how it is helping to change the world. I particularly like how they extract their colours from nature and teach people how to do so.

    You’re a talented travel writer, keep writing :).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. twobytour says:

    Such beautiful artistry. Wonderful read, thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Travelquartz says:

    It is so nice to see a post on off beat destinations as we have all read anough about Paris and Prague etc. The local places in India have such rich culture and Art to offer. I enjoyed the colorful pictures and information and will try soon to visit Naya of Mednipur -West Bengal.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Caitlin-Rose says:

    How lovely, such a culturally rich experience. Those colours are beautiful too! I’ll definitely add this to my bucket list, it’s so important to experience things off of the beaten track!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Indu says:

    Many villages in India treasure the age old art. So glad to know about this village. I have visited this culturally rich state many times but did not get the idea about this particular village. Love your pics immensely.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Summer says:

    The artwork is really beautiful! I’ve never heard of Naya Village before. Thank you for sharing this

    Like

  14. It’s so nice coming across such off the beaten track places that have so much local culture to experience!

    Like

  15. Kind people, amazing lifestyle… I already like it before seeing. Thanks for your post!

    Like

  16. Nathan says:

    It is heartening to see that the local people are able to preserve and impart their traditional skills and techniques to the younger generations! Hope more people know about this and support their cause 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Eric Gamble says:

    Love that you found this small remote village of Naya and were able to learn of their beautiful skills in art. I love that they use natural paints made from their local earthly surroundings to make such amazing designs. It also just moves me that they continue to pass these skills down to younger generations so that their skills arent forever lost

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Taryn says:

    This is really cool! I love the artistry of India. Such beautiful patterns and colors. I enjoyed reading about your experience in Naya. Keep up the good work!

    Like

  19. whodoido says:

    Beautiful paintings, so vibrant and colourful.. It’s great that they use the natural colours from plants for the paintings. And amazing that the whole village are artists and their skills have been passed on. I hope that their work continues to be exhibited around the world and people support them.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Cristina says:

    Sounds like a beautiful place. So interesting to learn how they use natural materials like flowers as paint!

    Like

  21. Barry says:

    I love visiting these smaller villages when I travel and it probably because I grew up in a village that I enjoy them so much. Life in Naya looks so interesting and I bet you had so much fun visiting there. Would love to check out this part of the world one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Premlata says:

    Awesome and marvellous blog Moimehr ! Love you and your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

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