Pic courtesy: Tara Books
Title: Following My Paint Brush
Author: Dulari Devi, Text by Gita Wolf
Publishers: Tara Books
Ages: 4 - 8
Indian society has many strata based on caste and/or class. What once could have been a loose way to organize people and make laws has now transmogrified in to commandments, propelled purely by the willingness of the people to accept and conform. Being a woman AND being born in the lower caste AND being poor can be a triple whammy. Rarely there are some people who break out of this cycle and it is an uphill task to do so.
FOLLOWING MY PAINT BRUSH tells the real life story of the Mithila painting artist Dulari Devi who bettered her life by following her passion - painting. Her story is told through her own paintings and the simple, yet powerful words of Gita Wolf.
The above picture is a classic example of how Gita’s text is paired with Dulari Devi’s illustrations. Gita subtly tells how Dulari Devi overcame her creator’s block and draws inspiration from her life. Dulari Devi's illustration displays elements of symmetry. The repetitive geometrical patterns are typical of Mithila art. It also shows one half of the painting with minimal colors and intricate lines. Where as the other side shows vibrant colors filled in between lines. This is the fusion of two styles of Mithila art - the Kachni and the Bharni. Dulari Devi combines various styles and experiments in order to achieve the desired visual effect.
The line that spoke the most to me is:
“As time went on I couldn’t imagine a single day without painting. It was a part of my life.”
It made me think, when you are born in and living in poverty, the lack of power to do or say anything, the feeling of helplessness associated with the situation, has a greater impact on human emotions than lack of money and the material comforts it can buy. Once Dulari Devi started painting, once she started expressing herself and her paintings get some kind of recognition, she just cannot stop.
This comes through in the last page when Dulari Devi says, “I was so proud that people wanted to know about me and what I thought.”
From promoting the Mithila art to celebrating the will of this talented artist, this book is quintessential Tara. FOLLOWING MY PAINT BRUSH found its way to my coffee table and the message to my heart.