The Dalit Foundation pursues the world's most important value - equality - and works to end the injustice of caste discrimination. By so doing, the Foundation works for the whole of humankind.
Barry Knight: Noted social scientist, Founder and Associate, CENTRIS, UK
Dalit Foundation is a registered charitable trust (no. E/16122/ Ahmedabad) under Bombay Public Trust Act 1950 (29th Act).
(Excerpt from 'The Art and Culture of Dalits of India' by Chandrika Sahai for DALIT FOUNDATION)
Mithila paintings first came into focus in 1934 when William G Archer, a British official, stumbled upon them while inspecting the damage caused by an earthquake discovered wall and floor paintings in the interiors of houses.
From 1936 to 1940 he photographed some of these paintings, some of which are at display at the British Library in London. In 1946 Archer published an article on these paintings and later in 1977, his wife Mildred Archer provided further information and some interpretations of the paintings.
A major turning point however came in 1966 when following a massive draught, the All India Handicrafts Board, in an attempt to rebuild the draught stricken economy encouraged the women of Mithila to transfer their wall and floor paintings (of gods from the Hindu pantheon, floral and geometric designs known as aripan and large colorful images of lotuses surrounded by paired fish, turtles snakes and love birds indicating fertility known as kohbar) onto paper so that they can sell them and generate income for their families. Most commonly these paintings at that time were done by the wealthy Brahmin and Kayastha women. Ganga Devi from the Kayastha caste and Sita Devi from the Brahmin Caste were the two pioneers of Mithila paintings on paper and their art was received enthusiastically by the public. They evolved two distinctive styles of painting. Ganga Devi did extremely detailed kanchi or line paintings using fine nib pens and only black and red ink, producing a kind of painting that came to be associated with the Kayastha community. Sita Devi developed the bharni style or �filled� associate with the Brahmin community. This style depicts large, colorful figures made using a straw or a bamboo stick either frayed at the end, or with a rag or wad of cotton at the tip, to serve as a reservoir for the paint. Through the 80s and 90s many other women of their caste followed their lead.
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