Madhubani Art

The art that Bharti Dayal practices, featuring divine forms and narratives amidst flora and fauna, can be literally described as Madhu (honey) and Ban (forest), i.e., a forest of honey, popularly known as Madhubani. The folk art form of the Mithila region of Bihar and parts of Nepal, the area located between the Himalayan foothills and the Gangetic plains, that goes back several eras, is perceived as Satyam, Shivan and Sundaram (true, good and beautiful). With its distinct identity, themes, colouration and compositions, Madhubani art is a reflection of the reality and beauty of the life of the people of the Mithila region. And what artist Bharti Dayal does with her masterly strokes is expand the horizons of the form beyond the folk and craft domain into the wider gallery precincts in a more open and contemporary socio-cultural context.

Bharti Dayal born in 1961 at Samastipur grew up in the Darbhanga district of Bihar, in Maithili region, known for the Madhubani style of folk painting. Though her formal education was in science and she holds a Master’s degree in the subject, she continued to learn painting from her mother and elders in the family, painting alpana on the floor and sketching epic scenes on the walls to celebrate auspicious occasions. Using natural vegetable dyes and crushed rice paste on handmade paper, cotton and silk fabric and canvases, she continued to practice in her spare time and refine her skills. Marked for its rich colours and dense form, in Madhubani style, her art has a refreshing feel, given its assimilation of newer imagery with folk imprints and philosophical underpinnings. The focal protagonists in her works are Radha-Krishna and other deities worshiped in the region. A vigorous proponent of Madhubani art, she also guides and supports struggling artists practicing the folk form. Showing professionally since 1991, her work has been exhibited in numerous shows across India and internationally. It can be seen at Bihar Pavilion, India International Trade Fair in New Delhi among others. French Television and Discovery Channel have made documentary films featuring her work. Winner of the National, State, AIFACS and Millennium Art awards, Bharti lives in Delhi and works from her studio at home.