This post is a part of our current affairs series for the UPSC IAS Prelims 2022. In this post, we have covered Art, architecture, and Culture in the news of the Paintings, festivals and dance section. This post covers current affairs from Dec. 2021 to 15th March 2022. In the 2nd part, we will cover the rest of the current affairs from July 2021 to 31st April 2022.
Art and Culture in news 2021-22
Paintings, festivals and dance forms in India
List of Contents
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News: Jallikattu has been banned in Vellore and nearby districts in Tamil Nadu as there has been a steep rise in the daily cases of COVID-19.
About Jallikattu: Jallikattu, also called Eru Thazuvuthal (literally, bull hugging). It is a Tamil custom celebrated on the day of Mattu Pongal, the day after Pongal (harvest festival).
It is a bull taming sport in Tamil Nadu. An ancient reference to bull taming is found in a seal discovered at Mohenjodaro, which is dated between 2,500 BC and 1,800 BC.
Bulls of indigenous breeds – mostly Pulikulam or Kangeyam – are used for the event.
The bull owner is awarded handsomely upon win, and the bull is set aside for breeding purposes, to preserve the vigour of the native breed. The custom thus acts as an incentive for the people to conserve the indigenous cattle breeds.
News: A Perini dance was performed by artists at Shiva Stuthi, a cultural event, held in Telangana.
About Perini Dance: Perini is an ancient dance form from Telangana. This dance form prospered during the Kakatiya dynasty.
This dance form is also called ‘Dance of Warriors’. It is believed that in ancient times, this dance form was performed before the soldiers were sent to war.
It is usually performed by males in honour of Lord Shiva.
One can find evidence of this dance in the sculptures near Garbha Gudi (Sanctum Sanctorum) of the Ramappa Temple at Warangal.
It finds mention in Bharataarnavam by Nandikeshwara, an early medieval work.
This dance form was almost forgotten until the early 1970s. However, Padmasri Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna was the person who revived this art form recently.
About Kakatiya dynasty: This dynasty ruled most of eastern Deccan region between 12th and 14th century. The region included present day Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and parts of eastern Karnataka and southern Odisha. Early Kakatiya rulers served as feudatories to Rashtrakutas and Western Chalukyas. They assumed sovereignty under Prataparudra I in 1163 CE by suppressing other Chalukya subordinates in the Telangana region.
News: During his Mann Ki Baat address, the Prime Minister spoke about a dying form of art known as Kaavi Art. He has urged people to work towards preserving such ancient forms in the country.
About Kaavi Art:
Kaavi is a form of wall art found in Konkan region, especially in temples of Goa, parts of coastal Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The art was introduced by the Portuguese who ruled Goa until 1961.
The art takes its name from Kaav in Konkani which refers to Indian red pigment, found in laterite soil, the only color used in this painting. The red pigment is obtained from the laterite soil.
The painting is done on wet plaster in a manner similar to frescoes [Fresco is a technique of mural painting executed upon freshly laid (wet) lime plaster].
The painting is done in bright red and white shades. It is usually done on the walls of temples and homes that depicts the ancient history of India.
News: A new book features 60 miniature works from the Nathdwara Painting.
About Nathdwara Painting: Nathdwara, a town close to Udaipur and a prominent Vaishnava centre, also emerged as a school of painting in the late seventeenth century.
Nathdwara School is a subset of the Mewar School of painting. It is seen as an important school in the 17th and 18th-century miniature paintings.
Nathdwara School includes different sub-styles of which Pichhwai paintings are the most popular.
Most works produced in this style revolve around the figure of Shrinathji as a manifestation of Krishna and refer to the incident of him holding the Govardhan hill on his last finger.
Note: Shrinathji is a form of Krishna, manifested as a seven-year-old child (Balak).
About Pichhwai Paintings: Pichhwai literally meaning ‘that which hangs from the back’. These are large devotional Hindu painted pictures, normally on cloth, which portray Lord Krishna. The purpose of Pichhwais, other than artistic appeal, is to narrate tales of Lord Krishna to the illiterate.
Santhali Sohrai murals
News: Santhali communities of Odisha and Jharkhand are changing their ways of painting traditional Sohrai murals to modernity.
About Sohrai: Sohrai is a harvest festival of the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and West Bengal.
It is also called the cattle festival. It is celebrated after harvest and coincides with the festival of Diwali. It is celebrated by Prajapati, Santal, Munda and Oraons among others.
About Sohrai Art Form: Sohrai murals is an indigenous art form practised by tribal women of Santhal community in the Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand.
The paintings are done on mud walls to welcome the harvest and to celebrate the cattle. The women clean their houses and decorate their walls with murals of Sohrai arts.
This art form has continued since 10,000-4,000 BC. It was prevalent mostly in caves, but shifted to houses with mud walls.
Note: Sohrai Khovar painting received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2020.
Key Features of Sohrai Art Form
- The Sohrai murals can be monochromatic or colorful. The colours used in this picture (red, black, yellow, and white) are natural earth colours. Chewing twigs are used as paint brushes, while cloth rags are used to apply the base coat.
- Popular Sohrai motifs are animals, birds, lizards, elephants and Pashupati (the creator of all animals), who is usually riding on the back of an animal.
- The artists are spontaneous in their drawings. The designs are usually drawn from the artist’s memory. The personal experience of the artist and their interaction with nature are the biggest influence.
News: Kerala Tourism department has started live-streaming Theyyam performances to promote cultural tourism.
About Theyyam: Theyyam is a popular ritual form of dance worship in Kerala and Karnataka. It consists of thousand-year-old traditions, rituals and customs.
The people consider Theyyam itself as a channel to a god, and they thus seek blessings from Theyyam. Theyyam dance incorporates dance and music with mime.
There are about 456 types of Theyyam. Theyyam is performed by males, except the Devakoothu theyyam. It is the only Theyyam ritual performed by women. It is performed only in the Thekkumbad Kulum temple (Kerala).
Performance: The dance or invocation is generally performed in front of the village shrine and houses as ancestor worship with elaborate rites and rituals.
Some popular Theyyams
Vishnumoorthi: It is the most popular Vaishnava Theyyam. This theyyam narrates and performs the story of Hiranyakashipu’s death by Lord Vishnu in his avatar of Narasimham.
Sree Muthappan Theyyam: It consists of two divine figures and is considered as the personification of two divine figures— the Thiruvappana or Valiya Muttapan (Vishnu) and the Vellatom or Cheriya Muttapan (Shiva).
Gulikan: Gulikan represents Yama, the Hindu god of death, called Yama. The Benkanakavu in Nileshwar is the most famous temple dedicated to Gulikan.
News: The gigantic and spectacular scrolls created under the unique initiative ‘Kala Kumbh’ have now been installed at the Rajpath for the Republic Day 2022 celebrations.
About Kala Kumbh: Kala Kumbh is organized by the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA).
Purpose: It is an artist workshop for painting scrolls representing the tales of valour of unsung heroes of India’s freedom movement.
Aim: To amalgamate varied forms of visual and performing arts of the country to represent the true essence of unity and diversity in India.
The works of art done on the gigantic scrolls will form an integral part of the Republic Day celebrations 2022. This workshop marks a unique collaboration between the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Defence.
The paintings at these workshops were done by more than five hundred artists spread over two locations, Odisha and Chandigarh.
Significance: The workshop will garner the interest of each individual to dig deep into the history of the unsung heroes of India’s freedom struggle. It would also draw attention towards the unified visual aspects of modern, indigenous and contemporary arts of India.
About the National Gallery of Modern Art
It is a premium art gallery under the Ministry of Culture.
It was established in 1954 by then vice-president Dr. S Radhakrishanan in the presence of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
It is a repository of the cultural ethos of the country and showcases the changing art forms through the passage of the last hundred and fifty years, starting from about 1857 in the field of Visual and Plastic arts.
Headquarters: Jaipur House, New Delhi.
News: Minister of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has launched two projects—
- Revival of Namda craft of Kashmir as a special pilot project under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 3.0 and
- Upskilling of artisans and weavers of Kashmir under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), component of PMKVY.
About Namda Craft
It is widely thought to have originated in the 11th century during the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar. It is a rug made of sheep wool through a felting technique instead of the normal weaving process.
It is extensively used in Kashmir households for floor covering and mattresses.
Reasons for Decline of Namda Craft
The export of Namda craft declined almost 100% between 1998 and 2008 due to the low availability of raw materials, lack of skilled manpower, and marketing techniques.
Inclusion of Srinagar in UCCN
News: Recently, UNESCO has selected Srinagar as part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) under the Crafts and Folk Arts category. Srinagar became one of 49 cities worldwide to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).
About the Art & craft of Srinagar
Srinagar, Ganderbal, and Budgam districts of Kashmir are popular for making handicraft products for ages. It includes textiles, carpets, and rugs, crewel embroidery, silverware, woodwork, and papier-mâché (a malleable mixture of paper and glue, or paper, flour, and water that becomes hard when dry).
Wooden Crafts: The wood comes from walnut trees, which grow at 7,000 feet above sea level. These woods are used to make tables, jewelry boxes, and trays.
Pashmina shawl: It is one of the best-quality shawls in the world, made up of wild Asian mountain goats. Srinagar region is the epicenter of high-quality, intricately woven woolen materials like shawls, carpets, and rugs.
Papier-mâché: It is said to have been brought to Kashmir by saint Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani from Persia in the 14th century. It involves creating colorful utility and decorative objects like vases, bowls, cups, boxes, trays, and lamp bases using paper pulp.
About UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)
UCCN was launched in 2004 to promote cooperation among cities that recognized creativity as a major factor in their urban development.
Aim: To foster mutual international cooperation with and between member cities committed to investing in creativity as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion, and cultural vibrancy.
Categories: It covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature, and Music.
Cities: The network now includes 295 cities covering around 90 countries.
Indian Cities under UCCN
Chennai and Varanasi – Cities of music;
Jaipur – City of crafts and folk arts;
Mumbai – City of film
Hyderabad – City of gastronomy.