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Scroll painting is on show for Diwali

MEDIA RELEASE Wednesday 11 October 2006

The rare and ancient art of scroll painting is on show at Auckland Art Gallery this weekend for the Diwali Festival of Lights.

This traditional Indian art of storytelling has fallen into steep decline since the advent of modern media.

Now teetering on the brink of extinction, only a handful of scroll painting artists remain.

The Asia New Zealand Foundation is supporting efforts to keep the craft alive by bringing one of the few remaining scroll painters to New Zealand for Diwali, the Indian New Year.

Monimala Chitrakar (above) is a talented artist descended from a long line of traditional storytellers from a village in West Bengal. Her surname means a maker of pictures.

Scroll painting is more than a colourful feast for the eye. As the scroll is unrolled frame by frame the artist narrates the story in rhyme or song. In the past, stories were based on Hindu mythology and tribal history, but now include modern issues like AIDS, family planning and female infanticide.

Five 2-4 metre long scrolls will be on show at Auckland Art Gallery this weekend, 14 and 15 October, alongside an existing mural by Madhubani painter Shanti Devi. Kids workshops will be held next Monday and Tuesday, 16 and 17 October.


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