Overview for The Patuas of West Bengal and Odisha: An Evaluative Analysis
The folk painters of West Bengal and Odisha, commonly know as patuas, have drawn much interest from social scientists and art lover all over the globe for their wonderfull work of art and diversified culture. They are regarded as subaltern and have been made outcastes by both the Hindu and Muslim communities. Alienated from the social at large, they remain within their own community, practising customs and rituals of Hinduism and Islam at the same time. Dwelling in a twilight zone, they have adopted a unique lifestyle of their own. Although pata painting is their main profession, these folk painters suffer from acute poverty and identity-crisis and have freguently shifted over to other occuoations to sustain themselves and their families.
The book, titled "The Patuas of West Bengal and Odisha: An Evaluative Analysis" discusses the socio-economic change that have occurred in the cultural scenario and lifestyle if the patuas (folk painters) of these two states over the decades. As case stuies, examples have been taken from Kalighat Patuapara in Kolkata, West and East Medinipur districts in West Bengal and Raghrajour- the Heritage Village of Odisha. The approach is entirely acadmic and research- oriented. Raghurajpur, in the Puri District of Odisha, presents pata painting in its highest from and was declared a Heritage Village in 2002 for its exquisite artwork. The painters of the Kalighat style have been popular all over the world as the Kalighat patuas. Kalighat Patuspara is known for the antiquity of pata-art. In West and East Medinipur, studies have been conducted in typical patua villages such as Naya, Thekuachak and Habichak.
In order to prepare the chapters, the researcher has conducted extensive field work in the above mentioned areas for a period of about eight years. Primary information regarding the past and present socio-economics conditions of these folk painter has been collected through direct interview. The book highlights the present problem of the patua commuity and contemporary changes in their lifestyle, with appropriate illustrations. It also attempts to emphasise on and explain the reasons for lateral shift in their traditional occupation. The book provides authentic information about the patuas and their work. Besides, it deals with the origin of the patuas community and the historical background of pata painting. An exhaustive bibliography has been provided at the end of the study to suggest material for further reading. The book will serve as an authentic work for researchers and acadmicians interested in Cultural Studies. It will be of immense value to sociologist, art historians, anthropologists and scholard of Cultuaral Geography.