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Anindita Lal: Madhubani RangPravesh

Press Release

The Acton Discovery Museum recently held a week-long exhibition from 7/24/17- 7/29/17 featuring the artwork of the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School student Anindita Lal. This exhibition was the first of its kind held by the museum, as per Elizabeth Leahey, Director of Learning Experiences for the Acton Discovery Museum. The exhibit was unique because it showcased an Indian folk art known as Madhubani, or Mithila, art as well as included workshops for children as an introduction to folk art.

Anindita started learning Madhubani three years ago under the tutelage of Sunanda Sahay. Sunanda is a well-known Madhubani artist and has been teaching her art form to students to continue traditions that have been passed on from generation to generation in Northern India. Mithila art has been practiced for centuries by rural women in the Bihar region of India and was a means to a livelihood as well as empowering women. This art form was dying out as the artists moved on to more lucrative forms of livelihood but in the recent years has been promoted as well as gained recognition in effort to sustain this art form.

To delve deeper into the Madhubani art form and devote more time and effort – Sunanda and Anindita applied as a teacher- student duo and were awarded a traditional arts apprenticeship scholarship by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. This apprenticeship is awarded every two years and its purpose is to help continue a dying traditional art form. Over the past year, Anindita and Sunanda worked hard together to produce ten major works of art that would show the council that the apprenticeship was maximized. This Apprenticeship allowed Anindita to focus on Madhubani in particular and she was able to complete several very intricate traditional pieces under her teacher’s guidance.

All the hard work and effort was showcased in viewings or a ‘RangPravesh” that signified a completion of a rigorous training program as well as a graduation in this art form. An initial exhibition was held for friends and family in Acton, followed by the exhibition at Discovery Museum. The Discovery Museum event included 2 workshops wherein Anindita demonstrated Madhubani techniques and showed children traditional drawing techniques using stencils and hatching. It was a rewarding experience to see young children come in and start to draw; some did a fusion of madhubani and their own favorite picture, and they came up with amazing concepts such as a fish-marine, a transformer elephant and an elephant in a lollipop field. Others copied their favorite animals from the paintings. The most satisfying experience was to be able to witness a family of 3 generations who all tried their hand at traditional Madhubani art. This intermingling of cultures as well as acceptance and furthering of traditional arts is the goal that we want for our society.

This event was attended by Senator Jamie Eldridge of Acton, several local artists from the Indian Community, and Acton Cultural Council members as well as local families.

Anindita plans to continue her interests in Madhubani art, continue teaching others this technique and would like to pursue Design as she plans her future. Sunanda would like to continue increasing interest and awareness about Madhubani and continue teaching.

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