All about Kalamkari Painting
By Kinjal Trivedi
Kalamkari is an ancient style of hand painting on textile or a wood block.
This is a very intricate style of painting that requires a lot of attention to detail and patience. ‘Kalam’ means pen and ‘Kari’ means work.
Various dark colored ink and drawing motifs like paisleys, linear shapes, flowers, animals, humans or even gods are used on a neutral color background in this style of painting.
Kalamkari has more of a religious identity – scrolls, temple hangings, chariot banners are depicted by drawing deities and scenes taken from the Hindu epics – Ramayana, Mahabharata, Purana and the mythological classics.
The Mughals who influenced this craft in the Coromandel and Golconda province called the practitioners of this craft “qualamkars”, from which the term “kalamkari” evolved.
Lengthy scrolls of storylines were painted on cloth and taken from village to village to pass on the stories as a form of education and entertainment both. Depending on the region, the group of artists would implement the stories in various forms and styles of their understanding. This means, the story line that was depicted using Kalamkari style that was famous within one region was used to further distribute using “PattaChitra” in neighbouring states like Odissa and further on to Nepal. Once we move further towards North East of India, the colors and the script change to Buddhist scrolls. But the technique remains the same which use pen with natural ink on cloth.