• JUN 16 to JUN 14
    Solo Exhibition
    Kalamkari: A Popular Form of Indian Heritage Art


    • Solo Exhibition
    • Other

    Dates and Opening hours

    JUN 16, 2016 to JUN 14, 2018

    Event Location


    New Delhi

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    India is rich in ancient art forms. Several Indian art forms that were born in the medieval ages, are popular even today which explains the strength of its various art forms. Kalamkari painting is one such Indian art form that was born around 3000 years ago. The name “Kalamkari” is derived from the name Kalam which mean Pen, and Kari meaning work. It actually means work done by pen.
    In Kalamkari art form, artists use pointed bamboo or date palm stick that acts like a brush to paint canvases. In the beginning, paintings were crafted on cotton fabric only but over a period of time, this art form became popular on silk and other materials as well. This form of artwork includes both block printing and paintings usually done with the help of organic dyes. Roots, leaves along with mineral salts of iron, tin, copper, and alum among others were natural source of color were also used.

    Kalamkari artwork evolved in the 17th century and gained royal acceptance. This art form originated in Masulipatnam, a coastal city of Andhra Pradesh and spread to numerous other places including Sri Kalahasti. Kamakari artwork was recognized as Sri Kalahasti and Masulipatnam style.

    The Style of Kalamkari Paintings

    Masulipatnam Kalamkari: It is a form of Kalamkari art that evolved during the period of Mughals and the Golconda dynastry. It is during Muslim rule in Golconda that Masulipatnam Kalamkari artwork was shaped by Persian touch, motifs and designs. The outlines and main features were done using hand carved blocks. In this form, the finer details are done later using the pen. It was exported to Persia and people were delighted with the floral pattern and vibrant color of the paintings. Dutch and Persians also demanded Kalamkari printing for dress material, bedspreads and curtains. They often termed it as calico or chintz instead of Kalamkari. Art lovers across the globe used to buy Indian art based on Masulipatnam Kalamkari.

    Sri Kalahasti Style: This style of artworks had religious touch. It mostly concentrated on themes from Hindu mythology, images of Gods, Goddesses, and saints; and epics (Ramayana, Mahabharatha). The major difference between Sri Kalahasti and Masulipatnam paintings is that Sri Kalahasti style depended entirely on the brush or pen. They also used block-printing process.

    Karrupur Style: Karrupur is another form of Kalamkari Indian art that originated during the Maratha rule in Thanjavur region. The uniqueness of this form of Kalamkari is that it was designed with golden brocade in the border of the woven fabric. This style of artwork was extensively used on sarees & dhotis worn by the royal family of the noble households.

    In addition, Kalamkari art picturize women figures in yellow, Gods in blue, and demons in red and green. It is not yet known what led to the choice of colors but this was the general trend in such paintings and can be seen even today. In most such art, religion and mythology remains a predominant motif of the paintings, displaying outstanding paintings of deities and scenes from great epics, and Hindu mythological figures from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Kalamkari paintings were also traded across the world. Most of paintings were taken from the scenes of Hindu mythology. In present times, this style is mostly practiced in and around Machilipatnam.

    Kalamkari Indian art form also used a variety of spices in the artwork like nutmeg, clove, and pepper as well as aromatic woods and oil which provided it a distinct identity. It is interesting to note that Kalamkari painting is the best specimen for innate artwork that uses color obtained from bark, flower and roots of plants. It is hailed for use of natural products for creating such magnificent artworks. If you are interested, you can buy Indian art Kalamkari from online art galleries at reasonable prices.

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