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Mother of infant uses Patachitra to rebuild home in Diamond Harbour

Artist, only earning member in a family of four, holds exhibition to raise funds

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 11.05.22, 08:30 AM
Madhumita Chitrakar with her mother at the exhibition; (right) some of her products

Madhumita Chitrakar with her mother at the exhibition; (right) some of her products

The house of a patachitra artist in Diamond Harbour got damaged in the first squall of the season around 10 days back but the woman with a three-year-old son managed to hold an exhibition on Sunday to earn some money to repair it.

Madhumita Chitrakar, 23, the only earning member in a family of four who struggled to make ends meet in the last two years, requested for a platform where she could sell the products she makes. She wanted the exhibition to be held urgently so she could rebuild the tiled roof of her home in Sangrampur village, which was blown away in a storm.

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A community resource group in Barasat, formed during the initial months of pandemic in 2020, helped Chitrakar find space to organise the day-long exhibition near Barasat station.

Chitrakar was able to sell saris and dupattas with patachitra motifs and patachitra worth Rs 45,000, including a profit that will help get back the roof over her head.

The roof of her home had been weakened during Cyclone Amphan in May 2020.

“During the last two years, there have been many who have asked for money and we have helped them. Chitrakar sounded desperate because she needed about Rs 17,000 for the repair but despite that, she refused monetary help when we offered. She said that she wanted to sell her products. We wanted to stand by her and give her the dignity that an artist like her deserves,” said Pulak Roychowdhury, founder, Songbed Community Resourceful.

Chitrakar had barely managed to sell a few saris and dupattas in the last two years and could not afford baby food for her child. She contacted a customer of hers for help. “The customer lives in Singapore. If the weight of a product crosses 500gm, the courier charges Rs 1,200,” Chitrakar said.

This was not feasible for her but the customer connected her with the community group in Barasat.

“They would have given me money but that would not have given me respect. It would have solved my problem only temporarily,” Chitrakar said.

Through an exhibition, she said, she was able to meet people, network and make contacts for future orders.

“Of 10, even if two come back with orders or refer me, it helps the business,” she said.

“Orders have dropped during the pandemic. With more people noticing my work, I hope it will help me earn a dignified living.”

On Monday, Chitrakar called the contractors to rebuild her house.

“They said that if I use tiles, there is a danger of the roof being blown away again. Now that I have a little more money, I can use asbestos, which will be much stronger,” she said.

Last updated on 11.05.22, 08:40 AM
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