Introducing the work of Pragati Mishra
seen here with her young nephew, is a young woman from Churu,
a small town in Rajasthan, who was born completely deaf. "Pragati"
is Hindi for "Progress", which has certainly proved
true in her life up till now:
From the age
of five she was showing an interest in drawing was able over
the years to learn to read and write, in addition to lip-reading
and sign language. Learning both at home, from her mother, a
science graduate and spending three years at the deaf and dumb
school in Jaipur, she learned Hindi and English, both written
and typed, and matriculated in 1997.
a long-time skill in drawing, in 1993 she began making hand-painted
greetings cards, but became understandably bored with the repetitive
nature of the work. She was encouraged by Dr O P Joshi,
a retired sociology professor who has formed an association of
traditional folk artists, to take up painting, which she has
done to great effect.
She has adopted
a technique of folk painting very much her own, rather than conventional
Rajasthani styles. In traditional painting in Rajasthan, such
as Phad painting, originally paints were made by hand, using
vegetable dyes and ground minerals. Nowadays poster colours,
even on canvas, have largely taken over, offering more versatility
and longevity, but lacking water-resistance. Pragati,
however, goes even further and uses acrylic paints on carefully
stretched cotton canvas. Her sense of colour is exceptional and
goes far beyond the traditional use of a rather limited palette.
So many more colours are available now and she knows instinctively
how to use them. I feel that her natural skill and
imagination will take her eventually far beyond the rather strict
confines of traditional folk art, hopefully enabling her to meld
traditional arts with contemporary thoughts and ideas.
Churu is 250
km. from Jaipur, the state capital, and is a very small town,
but Pragati is able to remain in contact with art activities
and has organised three one-person exhibitions both at Ajmer
Please contact us if you are interested in any of Pragati's pieces, the details being at the bottom of the Avenues of Sight index page.