Dr. Rani Jha, master painter and teacher at the Mithila Art Institute in Madhubani, stopped at Volney Elementary in late February to give students a lesson in art and culture.
Dr. Jha visited a few schools during her visit to the United States, and agreed to teach the mithila art form to small groups of students. The top art students from grades four through sixth participated in the lesson.
Librarian Sarah Fay first introduced the mithila art form to the 30 selected students in a brief library presentation.
Mithila painting is a centuries old traditional women’s art form of north India, in the area just below the border with Nepal.
Dr. Jha started painting in her home at seven years old. Conventionally done on newly plastered mud wall of huts, mithila paintings can now be found on hand-made paper, cloth and canvas.
The wall paintings feature symbols of luck and religion, each illustrating an artist’s individual flair.
Dr. Jha drew for the students a peacock, the national bird of India. In their 40-minute session students drew fish, turtles (a symbol of patience and long life) and peacocks in the mithila style.
Students asked Dr. Jha questions about her religion, Hinduism, and about the sari.