Dying Rajasthani folk art of 'Mandana painting' during Navaratri and Diwali
Due to urbanization and commercialization of festivals and social events, 'Mandana Paintings,' the folk art of wall paintings of Rajasthan is slowly dying. These days, sticker motifs are available to decorate the walls and floors during festive season of Navaratri and Diwali. However, in some interior villages and tribal areas, mandana folk art is being practiced by women and can still be seen on various festivals.
Earlier, mandana paintings were frequently drawn on social events and religious festivals to welcome gods and goddesses into houses and as a mark of celebrations on festive occasions. Generally, wall paintings were done to achieve divine blessings to protect home and also bring prosperity.
Mandana paintings are in fact prepared with cow dung mixed with local clay from the pond and red ochre. Lime or chalk powder is used for making the motifs suitable for the festival. The painting tools consist of a piece of cotton or soft cloth and a rudimentary brush made out of a date stick or from the branch of a local tree.
The design may depict Ganesha, local deities, Shakti, peacocks, elephants, tigers, flowers, etc. The shapes in which the painting are done may be rectangular, square, triangular or star-like.
Mandana folk art on festivals, wedding and other celebrations in home is generally practiced by women and it is often taken up as a community effort. Mandana paintings are drawn during Navaratri and Diwali festivals after houses are cleaned and white washed.
It is saud that in the Meena villages of Rajasthan women paint not just the walls and floors of their own house to mark festivals and the passing seasons, but also public areas as well, working together and never leaving individual signatures. The living art that they create is known as Mandana.
Likewise, the rural women in the Sawai Madhopur area of Rajasthan possess skill for developing designs of perfect symmetry and accuracy and some NGOs have helped them draw Mandana on canvas and helped them to make a living out of it.