Tribal Art & Culture of Madhya Pradesh & Rajasthan
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DHANAIYA BAI

GOND ARTIST of MADHYA PRADESH

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When Dhanaiya Bai’s paintings on mahua tree got an award from Nagpur South Cultural Zone, she had felt a lot of gratitude towards her husband Mohan Singh Shyam. It was he who had insisted that she painted. She was very reluctant and had refused to paint but when he would get angry, she taught of giving it a try. She painted on the pantheon: Meherolin Mata to whom one offers prayers before stepping out of the village; Khero Mai who protected people from disease. She felt a sense of bliss when she painted on river Narmada, emerging from Amarkantak. She had listened to the story of Narmada since she was a child and had felt an empathy. Narmada, as the story goes, was jilted by her lover, Sonbhadra, who ran away with her own sister Jehala. And so Narmada had taken a vow never to get married. Dhanaiya Bai had felt she was offering her prayer to Narmada Mai by painting on her. Another theme which is very close to her heart is the story of Shakuntala. 

Her elder daughter 10 years old Kruti Shyam has also started painting while six year old Kirti Shyam is not much interested. Their two year old brother Daneshyam has already started playing with colours, shouting simultaneously in great joy, ‘painting”, painting.

 

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