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Women artists associated with Rooftop

Women have played a prominent role in the evolution and revival of traditional Indian art. We have observed no dearth in women artists who have created stunning pieces of art and are recognised worldwide for their achievements.

Revolutionary women artists: Bhuri Bai

Image source: Open Magazine 

Bhuri Bai is an exceptional Bhil artist, born in the village of Pitol, on the border of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. She belongs to the Bhil tribal community, which is one of the largest tribal groups in India. 

Being the first member of her tribal community to start painting on paper, she set high standards for the attainment of colour and texture on different mediums. Her works typically have mythological references and symbolic representations. However, she gradually began drawing motifs like elephants and peacocks. 

Aside from being an artist of the calibre she is, Bhuri Bai has mastered the skill of hut making through the teachings of her mother, Jhabbu Bai. She contributed to the construction of the Bhil hut in the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya

She is the recipient of several awards, including the Shikhar Samman award and the Ahalya Samman award. Most recently, Bhuri Bai won the Padma Shri Award in 2021. She is one of the women artists affiliated with Rooftop and hosts the Bhil maestro course for our budding artists!

Dulari Devi: Master among women artists

Image source: IAS Gyan 

Dulari Devi is an Indian artist and illustrator, born into the marginalised Dalit Mallaah caste. Although she did not receive any formal education, she is one of the most formidable women artists Rooftop has seen. 

She learnt to draw and illustrate Madhubani art while working as a domestic servant with Mahasundari Devi. Later, she went on to study different styles and techniques of Madhubani through Karpoori Devi to perfect her knowledge. 

Dulari Devi has an extensive array of awards and recognition up her sleeve. Her works have been chosen as part of course materials at the Indira Gandhi Open University. She has collaborated with several other artists and authors with regards to dispatching some paintings in story books at exhibitions. One of her most prominent exhibitions as part of a group of women artists was at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the William Benton Museum of Art in Connecticut. 

Additionally, she has been involved in mural painting for the Central and State governments in India. Currently, she is an instructor at the Madhubani Art Institute in Bihar. Dulari Devi is truly the best of the best in her field, which is why she leads the Madhubani maestro course at Rooftop. 

Ambika Devi: A passionate Madhubani master artist 

Image source: Novice 

Madhubani artist Ambika Devi was born and raised in the Madhubani district of Bihar. Initially, she began her artistic journey by painting during the night after spending her days working in the fields. She shifted her focus to art full time after she moved to Delhi. Her sister and mother are award winning Madhubani artists too! 

Ambika Devi’s mother, Leela Devi was her inspiration to begin her journey into art. Her earliest paintings feature organic materials such as white rice and flowers. She has a strong religious inkling which is depicted through her artworks. A majority of her paintings showcase a central deity or mythological figure with a social ceremony in the surroundings. 

Ambika Ji is one of the few women artists whose art is taught through government workshops across Bihar. She, along with a small group of likeminded Madhubani artists, created COVID art to defeat depression among the civilians. These paintings depict hand washing and wearing face masks in the Madhubani style. 

Ambika Devi received the President’s National Handicrafts Award for art in 2009 and the Kamala Award for Excellence in Craftsmanship in 2018. Her latest achievement in 2021 has been the Samman Award for Excellence by the Council of Telangana. Currently, she is working closely with Rooftop, leading Madhubani workshops online and in person across India. 

Janhavi Mallapur: Artist and educator at Rooftop 

Image source: Rooftop

Rooftop’s strategy and operations consultant, Janhavi Mallapur completed her graduation from Wilson college in the field of economics. With a vast range of education and knowledge, she has secured her place as one of the leading women artists for Rooftop. Her speciality lies in Cheriyal art and block printing, and has led plenty of workshops all around India! 

She did a certificate course in applied art from Rachna Sansad school of applied arts along with her arts degree. Additionally, she went on to do her Masters in Economics from the University of Mumbai. She has also been associated with the ‘Young Rembrandts’ Group as an Art Educator. 

Janhavi has a background in the Bollywood film industry in the field of Art Direction and Production Designing. Having contributed to the likes of Hasee toh Phasee, Bombay Velvet and Trapped among many others, she has vast experience in people skills. 

She started a lockdown initiative where she conducted pocket friendly online art workshops, named “Art in Isolation”. This is dedicated towards raising awareness about how art can help get rid of the pandemic melancholy. The sessions help channelize your time therapeutically, creating wonderful art without any experience or formal training in it. Janhavi strongly believes that Art is healing and is committed towards promoting the value it adds to life.

To learn more about women in Indian art, 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 

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