Rooftop – Where India Inspires Creativity

Depiction of Holi in Indian art 

Origin of the festival

The festival of Holi is widely celebrated in India. It is one of those days that people look forward to every year with utmost excitement! Although played the same way, each region has its own unique name for this festival. In rajasthan, it is called Phag or Phagotsav, in Maharashtra it is Rangpanchmi. Bengal and Odisha say Dol Yatra and in the South it goes by the name Kamadahana. The several names denote the expanse of Holi throughout the country. 

In some regions, Holi signifies the celebration of good over evil. In Indian mythology, it is said that Holi was initiated with the defeat of the demon Hiranyakashipu by Lord Vishnu. As a result, a large pyre is lit the previous night to commemorate this occasion.

Another theory is the one centered around the two deities Krishna and Radha. Krishna, being blue in colour, was embarrassed to be seen with Radha, who was fair. Hence, he playfully tainted her face with colours and water, giving rise to the tradition. 

The depiction of a Holi scene is a common motif incorporated by artists in traditional Indian art forms. 

Holi and Phad

Image source: Pinterest

Phad is a traditional Indian folk art form originated in the state of Rajasthan, where Holi is celebrated in abundance. A typical Phad painting takes a few weeks to be completed, due to its intricacy and detail. A characteristic of this type of painting is the vibrancy of the colours used.

We observe yellow, orange, red, blue and green as the predominant colours of a Phad painting. These colours are also associated with the festive spirit. 

The award winning master artist Kalyan Joshi has taken efforts to revive this style of painting. One of his most famous works depicts Holi. 

To know more about Kalyan Joshi, click here 

Image source: DirectCreate

Holi and Pichwai  

Image source: Fizdi

Pichwai art is commonly known and admired for its intricate details, vibrant colours, and spiritual themes. Through the paintings, artists narrate the life and teachings of Lord Krishna. In many Pichwai works, one can notice the two deities, Radha and Krishna in festive attire and Gopis surrounding them. 

Image source: MeMeraki

The famous artist, Jayesh Sharma, does a great job at creating Pichwai painting. As we can see in the scenery above, he has depicted a Holi scene with Krishna dancing with Radha and the Gopis

Holi and Mandana

Image source: Pinterest

The significance of this celebration is explained within the Mandana art form. The crown depicts the victory of Lord Krishna. During the ceremony, four identical crowns are created around the pyre which represents Holika. The igniting of the pyre signifies the victory of good over evil. Mandana paintings are known to depict this scene through symbolism and imagery.   

Vidya Devi Soni is a well known Mandana artist, whose works portray the true essence of Holi. The nature of good over evil, light above darkness and love over hatred, shines through. 

Holi and Pattachitra

Image source: IndiaMART

Pattachitra is the traditional art form of Orissa. Most of these paintings are based on Hindu mythology. The main motif of several Pattachitra art works is Lord Jagannath, who is an incarnation of Lord Krishna. 

This Pattachitra painting depicts the two deities enjoying each other’s company, while being in the presence of the gopis. It is a beautiful visual narration of the celebration of Holi. The intricate designs made on canvas highlight the blue, red, yellow and orange hues, similar to that of Holi. 

Image source: PeachMode

Holi and Madhubani 

Image source: Pinterest

Legends believe that Madhubani paintings originated during the Ramayana, when Kind Janak commanded artists to depict the wedding of Ram and Sita. The designs and colour schemes are in association with rituals and festivals such as Holi, Durga Puja and Kali Puja. 

We cannot help but observe multiple paintings featuring the deities Radha and Krishna. In this painting, we see Krishna holding a pichkari to Radha’s face and the gopis with a handful of colour! It showcases a playful Holi scenery!

Summing it up

A majority of traditional Indian art forms focus on a colourful Holi scene. Each region has a unique symbolism and representation of the spirit of Holi. 

To learn more about art forms, download the rooftop app from Google Play or App Store to stay updated on our upcoming art events and workshops. Stay tuned to rooftop blogs and follow us on @rooftop_app

By Freya Bulsara

Related Posts