80 Years long journey of Godavari Dutta behind Padma Shri

A renowned Mithila artist, Godavari Dutta is among the five esteemed people from Bihar this year, who were conferred with Padma Shri awards. She was honored with one of the highest civilian awards because of her great contribution to the Mithila art. She feels proud and considers this achievement as a motivation for herself to keep on working.

Mithila painting is one of the famous Indian art forms which is  practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar. These paintings are known for representing ritual practices for particular occasions, including festivals, religious rituals, etc. Numerous artists from this field have  brought pride to the state of Bihar including Jagdamba Devi, Sita Devi and many more.

The news of her being receiving the prestigious award has brought joy among the people of the Mithila region and the state as a whole.

“There are many people who contributed much to the art and culture. And I thank Central government for this award”

said Godavari Dutta after receiving the accolade.

Godavari Dutta is one of the artists who left no stone unturned to popularize Mithila painting, not only in India but all over the world. Her paintings are on display in the Mithila museum in Japan. Godavari Dutta’s one of the finest paintings, Trishula was also exhibited at the museum. She has traveled several times to Japan for her exhibitions in  Osaka, Tokyo, Kobe, etc.

Godavari Dutta was also awarded with the National Award in 1980 and conferred with the title of “Shilp Guru” by President Pratibha Patil in 2006. Now, she is dedicated to keep on the tradition,inspiring the new generation to take forward the Mithila art.

Godavari Dutta started her journey of being an artist at a very tender age, that was when she was just around six years. Hailing from Darbhanga district’s Bahadurpur village, Dutta used to work on Mithila art in a clandestine manner. Earlier she used to draw on walls in a childish way. The first time she chose paper as her canvas, was in 1971.

Mithila art form is a traditional art and so it is said that one  acquires it from their ancestors.  Godavari Dutta preaches her mother, Subhadra Devi who herself was an artist as her art guru.

The veteran artist has seen a lot of struggle in her life, she lost her father when she was just 10 years old. Her mother had a very tough time  bringing up her four children. In the initial phase, she feared that her mother would rebuke at her after seeing her paintings. But to her surprise, her mother  supported her and advised her not to panic and focus only on her work.

Godavari Dutta got married in the year, 1947. Later, she gave birth to a son. Afterwards, she was deserted by her husband who went to Delhi and never came back, leaving Dutta distraught. But with her strong determination and willingness she was able to tackle all her problems and took the road of success.

Mithila is an ancient art form. She usually portrays the characters from Ramayana and Mahabharata in her creations. This supremely talented artist not only paints the character-based paintings, but also makes event-based paintings like marriage, dance forms, etc. The most amused part is that  she uses bamboo sticks for her painting, which is not common with other artists.

It is rightly said that life is about making impact, not income. Godavari Dutta, a Rashtrapati award winner has trained around 50, 000 students in the country and abroad in this art form. She has trained teachers, as well as students under the scheme of “Center for cultural resources and training” of government of India. Other than this she has also involved village women in Mithila painting and helped them to be financially independent. Not only this, she has also formed a village committee to promote girls’ education.

At over  85 years, when most of the people enjoy their retirement, Dutta with her compassion and honesty towards her work, now dreams of writing a book on the art form. Definitely, there’s no rules in age.

She’s a winner for her excellence in painting and social welfare.While expressing her gratitude over the center’s honor, she says  that earlier Madhubani painting wasn’t as famous as it is now. At present, there are so many people who want to paint and appreciate the art form. She hopes that  the government keep on motivating artists by providing the rightful opportunities.

She wants the young generation to keep the tradition alive. Also, she adds that Mithila painting is unique and the government with the citizens needs to think about keeping the culture lively.

Mithila art form reflects aesthetic tastes, religious portrayal, love for nature, affection for the feminine beauty, divinity, and also the panoramic view of the day to day life of the people. However the art and artists have suffered greatly due to commercialization and cheap duplication. It is time we fetch the deserved recognition to the artists.

PatnaBeats, on behalf of the whole state, feels proud that Godavari Dutta has brought pride to the land of Bihar. We wish for her well-being and congratulates on this latest achievement.

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