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Lives and Legacies from an Indian Crafts Village
By Helle Bundgaard

Painting Stories weaves a tapestry of stories portraying the lives of Indian craft makers. Religion, family, chance, ambition, and passion shape the lives of the painters. For them, painting is more than a livelihood or an aesthetic expression—it is a way of life.

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Painting Stories explores the accomplishments, struggles, and livelihoods of traditional artisans in Raghurajpur, a village known for its patta chitra painters. In this collection, Helle Bundgaard weaves thirty years of observations and experiences into a tapestry of stories, which together present a poignant image of the lives of Indian craft makers and their personal connections to the art that they create.

The painters’ stories are situated in a rich cultural environment and steeped in social relations. For them, painting is more than a livelihood or an aesthetic expression – it is a way of life.

Painting Stories is a window into a part of our world rarely seen, reminding us of both our rich diversity and our shared humanity. Written with the painters, students, and laypersons in mind, the book includes a discussion of ethnographic storytelling and resources for ethnographic writing, as well as color photographs that bring the stories to life.

Click here for more images from Helle’s trips to Odisha over 30 years.

Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Language: English
ISBN: 9781487527334


Read more about the patachitra painters from Painting Stories.