A hundred feet by eight centimeter roll of ATM paper was on Sunday transformed into a traditional work of Shankari art by Anjan Tamuly and his team at the Naamghar of Rowriahjan Kathonibari, about 12 kms away from Jorhat town in eastern Assam.
Anjan had earlier achieved fame for creating idols of Goddess Durga from used newspapers and painting them over during Durga Puja festivities.
The youth who is now a lawyer said that this new endeavour was to inspire the new generation to take to this art form which had been started by social reformer and philosopher Srimanta Shankardev in the 16th century in Assam.
“I learnt this art form, which had originated here, after attending a workshop organized by Society for Srimanta Shankardeva founded by Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti at Bardowa in Nagaon district.”
“There Mridu Moucham Bora taught us the nuances of Shankari art which is done on Xansi paat (treated bark of the agar tree) and natural dyes like hengul haital,” he added.
Travel writer Bijit Dutta, whose website bijitdutta.com is a treasure trove of information on Assam and the Northast and who had attended Sunday’s inauguration said that in earlier times the Bhagwat Katha was pictorially represented on Xansi paat.
This is just a variation of the same using an ATM roll and acrylic colours due to unavailability of the earlier material and natural dye.
The painting which took 21 days to complete is divided into eighty parts and is detailed pictorial representation of the bhaona (religious play), Matsya Avatar of Lord Krishna.
The painting was released by Shankari artist Diganta Hazarika who told the gathering of village folk and children about the significance of this work of art and its relevance in present day society.
Tamuly said that Hazarika was his guru here and that he would teach them how to write in Katheli, the language used in the manuscripts of the Shankari era.
Tamuly hoped that he and his team comprising Simanta Bhuyan, Trilochan Saikia and Abhijit Saikia would be able to inspire others to take to this art form which had its origins in Assam.