Meet 24-year-old Jaya Dourbi, a Delhite from Uttarakhand who is keeping Bihar’s traditional art form – the Madhubani Painting alive.
I have known Jaya for more than 4 years now. We were together in Radio and TV Journalism batch of 2014 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. She was the sweet, charming girl in class who was good in studies and generally away from all the troublemakers. I knew her as a classmate, though we were not that close. However, we were close enough for me to know that she did not paint. At least, not back then.
Cut two – the Year 2018 – I see Jaya spreading vibrant colors in the world through her #madhubanimagic. I was in India last month visiting my family and I requested Jaya to meet with me for an interview. I wanted to know the artist inside my former classmate. It intrigued me to see her so involved and actively engaging in art. She happily agreed and we met at Triveni Cafe at Mandi House in Delhi over (rounds of) tea.
My first question was obviously how and when did she realize that she was an artist. She smiled and told me that it began with doodling. She used to love making doodles in her free time. Her doodles had a lot of patterns and especially fish eyes, so this hobby gradually evolved to become a passion and she started making Madhubani paintings.
Converging the Traditional and the Contemporary
One of the most amazing things about how Jaya works is that she practices a traditional art form, maintaining its sanctity intact but uses contemporary methods to reach out to more and more people. I discovered Madhubani Magic on Instagram and was amused by the idea of a social media handle that promotes one of India’s 2500-year-old art form.
Jaya started painting earlier this year and in the month of February, she started social media handles to share her work with the world. I asked Jaya about the idea behind Madhubani Magic and her inspirations.
“It was my mother who appreciated my paintings. That gave me the encouragement to put it out there and what could be better than social media, right?”
It has been almost half a year since Jaya started sharing her work on Instagram and Facebook, and she is steadily garnering followers on both mediums. Currently, she stands at 500 followers on Instagram.
A Self-taught Artist
Another inspiring thing about Jaya is that she is a self-taught artist. When you look at her intricate work it will be difficult to believe that she has had no formal training in Madhubani painting. She visits other artists, observes their style of work and learns by practicing.
I asked Jaya if she had a basic learning mantra, any secrets that she would like to share with aspirant artists. She told me that there is this book called “Mithila Lokchitra” by Krishna Kumar Kashyap and Smt Shashibala that she bought from the National Book Trust stall during World Bookfair; it helped her learn about techniques and patterns. She told me that she keeps the book by her side all the time as it not only teaches her but inspires her to get the patterns right.
Making the World A Better Place through Art
Jaya strongly believes that art can inspire people. She uses her skills to spread awareness and create a sense of social responsibility among people. She loves to paint for a cause. Recently, on world environment day, she created posters to spread awareness about afforestation and maintaining ecological balance to avoid the climate change catastrophe.
Bringing Two States Together – The Fusion of Aipan and Madhubani
“Being an artist I am obsessed with every art form. The absolute wonders which one can create with a creative and artistic mind always fascinated me. The amalgamation of some great strokes on a piece of paper created many art forms which are now confined to a limited mass and I feel very delighted to create an artwork which focuses on the beauty of these traditional art forms.” says Jaya
Jaya combines Aipan and Madhubani – the former is a folk art originated in Uttarakhand while the latter, as we know, is a traditional art form originated in Bihar, to get a unique fusion art form that is both beautiful and ominous. Jaya explained to me that the foot designs in Aipan represent Goddess Lakshmi and are symbols of prosperity while Madhubani has ominous patterns inspired from nature like fish, peacocks, leaves, and trees.
A Journalist by Day and an Artist by Night
Jaya’s work is vivid. She is an artist who loves experimenting – different sizes, new patterns and inspired styles. She practices Madhubani, Aipan, and fusion art forms on the canvas, on posters, bookmarks and even on fabrics. She makes breathtaking Madhubani dupattas. Since she works alone and has a challenging job as a journalist at DD Kisan, it makes it difficult to manage everything at once. However, she juggles well. I asked how?
“I feel like there is a spiritual force that connects me to my paintings. It gives me the strength to work till late hours even after office.’
Meeting with Jaya and learning about Madhubani and Aipan was a treat. She generously gifted me with a handmade card that I plan on getting framed and cherish forever. Watching her so deeply passionate about her work – both as a journalist and as an artist inspired me to be a better version of myself. The Vent Machine request all readers to visit Jaya Dourbi’s Instagram and Facebook pages and follow her to get the best of traditional Indian art.
Jaya does not sell her work, though you may request her for commissions. Good news is that she is planning for an exhibition sometime soon where you all can appreciate her collection. To know more about Jaya Dourbi’s Madhubani Magic, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @Madhubani_Magic