Accolades for Women Artists - Sailabala Jena

Posted Date - 07-03-2017 | Posted By - Kalavithi

Celebrating Women, Kalavithi shocases Women Folk Artists, who are no less than urban career women, delicately balancing the act of supporting their family, taking care of children and elders, and pursuing their passion, all during the same day! They have not compartmentalized their lives, and hence, while they cook, they sing; while they nurture their children, they draw; while they chat, they paint! And out comes a master piece which tells of all the ruggedness present in their lives, as well as the mystery of the dreams these eyes have!

Meet Sailabala Jena , all of 20 years, already an expert at Odisha Pattachitra painting. Sailabala loves to make Taal Pattachitra, or Palm Leaf Etchings! She has grown up watching elders in the family practice the art, and it was but natural for her to pick up the skill! Watching her create a beautiful piece itself makes one respect her for her dedication and focus. She is happy practicing her art, contributing to the family income. For Sailabala, practicing the art has liberated her from shackles of pre-requirements of a regular employment, and empowered her to earn a respectable livelihood at her own terms.

In addition to the artistic etchings, preparation of palm leaves for painting is craft in itself. Palm leaves are cut and dried partially, then seasoned by burying in swamps, then dried in shade. Evenly sized panels are stitched together with cotton threads to form a bigger panel. We have witnessed Sailabala's hands navigate expertly through the panel, and etch beautiful Buddha Forms, elaborate Tree of Life motifs, Pictures of deities, all complete with minute detailing and ornate borders. Once the motif is etched, a paste of burnt charcoal shells, oil, turmeric and bean leaves is filled into the etchings, and wiped off, highlighting the beautiful etchings, bringing them to life!

In addition to the artistic etchings, preparation of palm leaves for painting is craft in itself. Palm leaves are cut and dried partially, then seasoned by burying in swamps, then dried in shade. Evenly sized panels are stitched together with cotton threads to form a bigger panel. We have witnessed Sailabala's hands navigate expertly through the panel, and etch beautiful Buddha Forms, elaborate Tree of Life motifs, Pictures of deities, all complete with minute detailing and ornate borders. Once the motif is etched, a paste of burnt charcoal shells, oil, turmeric and bean leaves is filled into the etchings, and wiped off, highlighting the beautiful etchings, bringing them to life!


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