Pattachitra and the half-story of the artists of Raghurajpur

Pattachitra is an art form whose origins can be traced as far back as 5BC. It took root in Odisha's Puri district, and till date is the economic mainstay of villagers in this district. One such village is Raghurajpur, a scenic little dot on the globe, just 14 kms away from Puri. It is nourished by the river Bhargavi and coconut and mango groves shield around 100 houses belonging to artists. Yes, almost every home practices some form of art or the other, and Pattachitra artists outnumber others.
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A whole village of artists? They must be rich, you think. Sadly, the artists lead a hard life because of their dependence on middle-men who buy their art work so cheap, it barely covers their living expenses. Needless to say, these same pieces are sold to the end customer at 4X the price paid to the artist! This, despite the fact that, in 2000, Raghurajpur was developed  as a heritage village by INTACH.

If you look up Wikipedia, you will read a lot more fanciful things about Raghurajpur.The village is a model heritage/ It is the venue of the annual Spring Festival, the Basant Utsav - Parampara Raghurajpur  initiated by the State tourism board, a non-profit organization works with the artisans....yet, the sad  truth remains - artists continue to be underpaid.

In a recent journalistic venture by Indiblogger and Do It Right, when artists were interviewed, they all cited the same problem - the presence of middlemen prevented them from getting what their art deserves!

The art form of Pattachitra is not easy. Artists spend long hours hunched over their canvasses, and the intricate drawings, as well as the attention to detail make it quite a bone-weary occupation. It is the only one they know. This video will tell you more!

Luckily, #doitright says there is a way out. It is possible with your support. According to them, "These artists need a platform to showcase their art, promote and sell it without the interference of middlemen. To make the traditional Odisha art of Raghurajpur village accessible across the world, we think a website for Raghurajpur village would be very helpful. Families would be profiled and their art work would be listed in their individual galleries. The artists can provide their contact details and connect with buyers directly, through this website."

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Let us fill their loves with as much color as their canvasses hold. Let us contribute to Indian art and encourage artists with fair pay which will in turn sustain their livelihood.  You can contribute by donating any amount or telling your friends about this incredible story on your social networks. There's not much time left - donate, and make a difference. Click here to donate, or Share this story wherever you can.

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