Menu Close


The cloth painters of Odisha represent a slice of the rich history of Indian artisans. A few of these amazing artisans have their stories captured in Helle’s book Painting Stories. 
Scroll down to meet these painters.

Sula Moharana

Sula has painted papier-maché masks as long as she can remember. While growing up she worked along with her parents and neighbours in their common courtyard. After her marriage, she did not need to paint for a living but nevertheless continued in order ‘not to sit idle’. Today she has a job in the city but still paints on her weekly day off  to spend time with her sons who paint for a living.

Binod Moharana

Binod had a career as a painter of signs for fourteen years before he got a permanent position as a teacher of palm leaf engraving in the government handicraft-training centre in Bhubaneswar.  He decided to paint patta chitra after an excursion in 1986 to the BiranchinNarayan temple in Buguda, Odisha. Throughout his career, Binod has broadened his scope in painting acknowledging the skills of predecessors while infusing tradition with new form. 

Tophan Moharana

Tophan was apprenticed to Jagannath Mohapatra who taught him the art of patta chitra painting. Tophan worked for his guru and lived as a member of his household for sixteen years. Returning to his natal home, he continued to earn a living from patta chitra untill he found a less demanding occupation.

Bhaskar Mohapatra

Like Tophan, Bhaskar was an apprentice of Jagannath Mohapatra and lived in his household in the village of Raghurajpur. His fortunes changed when one day he was selected to participate in Festival of India held in 1984 in Washington D. C. Bhaskar contines to paint patta chitra.

Ramesh Moharana

Ramesh was taught by Binod Moharana in the handicraft-training centre in Bhubaneswar and continued to work closely with his guru also after he received his certificate. Ramesh lives in Puri where he paints in close collaboration with his three sons. Ramesh has what painters refer to as ‘good hands’ but unfortunately skill is no guarantee for fair pay.