Art from India's Mithila Region at San Francisco's Asian Art Museum

“Painting is My Everything”

Over the weekend I decided to get lost at SF’s Asian Art Museum is exhibiting a collection of paintings by 17 artists whose work is within the Mithila painting tradition. Here’s an excerpt from the Museum’s website:

Mithila style painting, characterized by visually striking compositions, stylized images, delicately detailed surfaces and vibrant colors, was originally practiced exclusively by women on the walls of their homes. In the wake of a severe drought in the 1960s, this mural tradition was transferred to paper, a format that could be sold to bring much-needed income to rural villages.

Painting continues to be a catalyst of economic growth and social change in Mithila. For many women, artistic success has translated into financial independence and community respect. Dulari Devi, a woman from a lower caste community who had been a housemaid before earning her living as an artist, declares, “Ever since I started painting, I do it like worship . . . painting is my everything.”

Painting on a piano, created for the Sing for Hope project in New York by  Artist Nupur Nishith . It was fun to see folks walk over and hit a few notes! Photo by Namita Paul

Painting on a piano, created for the Sing for Hope project in New York by Artist Nupur Nishith. It was fun to see folks walk over and hit a few notes! Photo by Namita Paul

Daughters Are For Others   , 2006,  by Shalinee Kumari was one of my favorites. The photograph does not do justice but click on the link to go to the Museum website. Photo by Namita Paul

Daughters Are For Others, 2006, by Shalinee Kumari was one of my favorites. The photograph does not do justice but click on the link to go to the Museum website. Photo by Namita Paul

A holy man in the forest (Shiva as Lord of the Animals), 1981, by Jogmaya Devi (Indian). Ink and colors on paper. Courtesy of Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Museum purchase, 1999.39.39. © Jogmaya Devi. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.    Source:  http://education.asianart.org/explore-resources/lesson-or-activity/academic-decathlon-2015–16-india

A holy man in the forest (Shiva as Lord of the Animals), 1981, by Jogmaya Devi (Indian). Ink and colors on paper. Courtesy of Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Museum purchase, 1999.39.39. © Jogmaya Devi. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

Source: http://education.asianart.org/explore-resources/lesson-or-activity/academic-decathlon-2015–16-india

What I am reading

I often turn to other artists stories and works for inspiration, support and, to keep going!

This morning I turned to Claudia Roth Pierpont’s “How New York’s Postwar Female Painters Battled For Recognition” in the New Yorker. A thoroughly enjoyable essay with insights into Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, Grace Hartigan, and Joan Mitchell as well as a book review of Mary Gabriel’s Ninth Street Women, which is now on my list of books to read!