The Story of a Young Artist <I>Rabindra Behera, Patachitra Artist, Orissa</I>

The Story of a Young Artist Rabindra Behera, Patachitra Artist, Orissa

Rabindra Behera had just returned from a seven-month sojourn in Goa, not holidaying in the sun and sands, but creating what he calls the largest patachitra painting in the world. It is 148 feet long and 2 feet wide and adorns the Mallikarjun Temple in Goa. It took him and two junior artists six months to complete this commissioned work which is now the pride of his life. They earned Rs 4 lakhs for the piece. He came to tell me about it with a gift of sweetened crisp mathris blessed from the Jagannath Temple in Puri, and packed in a palm leaf basket. He took a piece for himself after reverentially removing his shoes and apologized that this was all he could offer as a gift from his home. The Puri Temple receives thousands of earthen lamps and pots everyday as offerings. The temple distributes thousands of palm leaf baskets containing sweets made sacred for devotees to take home. Hundreds of basket makers and potters earn their livelihoods this way and thank their Lord Jagannath for the two meals a day that comes their way.

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