April 25, 2002  

Inspiration for the day

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Shamlat Jamal, ‘Serenet’, near Governemnt U.P.School, Keecheri, Kanjiramattam, Ernakulam.


“Perhaps I may be the 1st person to do hand paintings in Bathik.  Unfortunately our people do not know it.  But foreigners know it.  But I do not have the wherewithal to make it known among them.  And those who have the ability do not help either”, says Shamlat Jamal, ‘Serenet’, near Governemnt U.P.School, Keecheri, Kanjiramattam, Ernakulam.

In Bathik the cloth is dipped in different dyes to make the finished product.  During the process, different coloured areas are covered with wax to prevent overlapping of colours.  Block printing is easier in Bathik but there is no art in it.

Perhaps that is why M.V. Devan’s and artist Namboodiri’s student at Kalapeedam, Shamlat preferred to hand paint.  “At first it was difficult to carry out a painting in Bathik to perfection.  But with effort the stumbling blocks yielded”, she says.

She has done many hand paintings in Bathik: ‘Last Supper’, ‘Potato eaters’, paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Ganapathi, Quotes from Quran etc.

However she is unhappy that handicraft institutions like Kairali and Surabhi have not done justice to her work.  “Sometime back I visited a sales centre of one institution.  As I could not find my works there, I asked if my Bathiks are available for sale.  I was told that they are kept safe in the almarah.  How can a work of art be sold if it is kept in the almarah?”, she asks.

“During exhibitions sometimes foreigners come to see the items.  One should see the joy in their faces when they see a hand painted Bathik”, she says.


Courtesy: Sree, Malayala Manorama, September 23, 2001

Contributed by: Administrator


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