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CHITTARA – Karnataka’s Folk Art

Chittara – is the folk art that emerged from indigenous cultures of the nature worshipping Devaru community settled around Sagara in Shimoga District of Karnataka.

Chittaara Art

This art consists of intricate patterns symbolizing auspicious ceremonies and rituals of life. The above painting represents the ‘marriage ceremony’ through the complex geometric patterns. The real concept of this geometrical art from fostered from the natural objects like the sun (circle), moon (semicircle), mountains (triangle) and other such natural elements. The bride and the groom are shown in a pallaki (chariot) and the other details such as the lamps, musicians epitomize the respect it shows towards our culture and human kind. The paintings are usually two feet tall and require a keen understanding of ratios and proportions. They use eco-friendly natural sources like the rice paste(white color), roasted rice(black), seed coats of guringi seeds(yellow) and red mud and red stones(red color).The traditional brushes are made of ‘pundi naaru’ (fibers of a plant).

I was exposed to this art form in one of the art campaigns I visited. I learnt how lines and curves can create such extraordinary work. The experience of painting it authentically using organic paints and brush was a challenging task, but equally interesting and wonderful!

Amidst this urban landscape, folk arts like Chittara are treasures of eternal value, waiting to be explored. This highlights the words quoted by Thomas Merton “art enables us to find ourselves and to lose ourselves at the same time.”

The folk and tribal arts of India express the cultural diversity of the nation. There is a lot more to explore and learn from these rich art forms.

About the author

V K Sumedha


A Class 10 student of Sri Vani Public school, Rajajinagar , Bangalore.
She has an intense love for nature and passion for art and music.

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