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Kohvar, Sohrai in paper avatar

- Tourism department brochure to revive traditional tribal art

Murals are making their way from the walls to the pages in the course of their journey to revival.

The state tourism department has come up with 1,500 leaflets dedicated to Kohvar and Sohrai — indigenous paintings that grace the walls of mud houses in nondescript villages — in a bid to promote the dying art form, and cultural tourism in the process.

The glossy brochures of two varieties — Timeless Ethnic Experience: the awesome mural painting of Jharkhand and Strokes of Colours: the mural painting tradition of Jharkhand — will be distributed for free at Ranchi hotels. They will also find a place at various fairs.

Speaking to The Telegraph, state tourism director Siddharth Tripathy said the main purpose was to promote the age-old art and showcase Jharkhand’s rich tribal culture. “The murals, basically drawn by tribals on walls, involve the use of natural colours. It’s a unique art form that requires immediate attention or else, it will die a natural death,” he added.

Kohvar and Sohrai are two mural art forms that have their origins in Hazaribagh. “While Sohrai features wildlife and nature, Kohvar is all about symbolic representations to welcome bridegrooms during weddings. Both are painted on walls, mostly by women tribal artists,” Tripathy said.

The brochures provide valuable information about both art forms, their origin, pictures showing tribal women painting their mud houses with natural colours et al.

“We are targeting hotels and fairs as tourists frequent these places. We have distributed the brochures in a few hotels and more will be covered over the next few days. Tourists can also visit the villages and learn about the traditional tribal art form,” the director said.

According to the tourism director, more is on the way, like a coffee-table book on tribal art. “This way, we can publicise our art, otherwise it will remain confined within the four walls, far away from the public eye,” he said.

Tripathy was all praises for well-known cultural activist Bulu Imam, convener of INTACH Hazaribagh chapter, who is lending support to the campaign. “He is a pioneer in organising painting exhibitions on traditional art forms in Germany, Japan and France and has received global recognition. He also takes tribal artists to these countries to exhibit their skills.”