Puneet Varma (Editor)

Sohrai

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Sohrai is a festival of Santhal people of Jharkhand and West Bengal . It is a cattle worship festival and is celebrated during Diwali. In Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand during this festival an indigenous art form is practised by the womenfolk. This art form is ritualistic art done on mud walls to welcome the new harvest and also to celebrate the cattle. According to ancient mythology, Marang Buru (God of mountain), Jaher ayo ( Goddess of forest) and the eleder sister of the santhals, would descend on earth from heaven to pay a visit to their brothers. To commemorate of this event the harvest festival is celebrated at this time. The women of the house clean their houses and decorate their walls with murals of sohrai arts. This art form has thus been continuing since ancient times, around 10,000 BC- 4,ooo BC onwards . This was prevalent mostly in caves but now has been primarily shifted to houses with mud walls.

Medium: This Sohrai art form which is used to decorate the walls is usually monochromatic or extremely colorful. The tribals coat the wall with a layer of white mud, and while the layer is still wet, they scrape with their fingertips on it. The designs that they draw out may range from flowers and fruits to various other designs inspired from nature . In this way, the cowdung which has earlier used to cake the walls of the house are used to add to the colour of the designs of sohrai Art. In this way the dark outline thus scraped on the walls is clearly visible due to the contrating white mud coat previously applied on the walls. These Sohrai artists are very spontaneous in their drawing, and there is not much of pre-planning to this art. The canvases range from 12 feet x 18 feet to feet to something smaller in scale. They don't plan it out with layouts, the designs are usually drawn from the artist's memory . The personal experience of the artiest, and their interaction with nature are the biggest influence on this art form. the harvest festivals is the time of the year when they successfully manage to exhibit their artistic skills and expressions. This art form is usually carried out by housewives, little girls-educated and uneducated, who draw inspiration from their everyday interaction with nature. This form of art is not something that they can pickup from schools or academic instititions. It is art which is derived from the study of nature and its surroundings . Every year, after the festival is over, all these drawings and patterns created during this time are erased. This festival usually takes place in the month October or November for three days.

References

Sohrai Wikipedia


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