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PM Modi gifts Odisha artist’s painting to French President

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted Odisha artist’s painting to French President Francois Hollande during his maiden visit to France.

Odisha based artist, Bhaskar Mahapatra, hailing from the heritage crafts village of Raghurajpur in Puri district, has prepared a painting on silk titled ‘Tree of Life’ which reflects the traditional societal respect for nature in India.

“The tree, as a divine gift central to human life, is a recurring element in Indian artistic practice. The Tree of Life, with multiple roots and branches like a banyan tree, is a motif for a tree’s benevolence, fruit, seeds, shelter, healing, procreation and regeneration faculties that sustain life and clean the environment,” a PMO statement said.

A Lalit Kala Akademi award-winning artist, Bhaskar Mohapatra has won many accolades for his expertise in palm leaf painting, commonly known as pattachitra in Odisha.

While most pattachitra paintings have spiritual, mythological and religious tales as their background story, Mohapatra thought something different. He used tree as a motif for God, as the creator and the nurturer.

Tree of Life painting and artist

The ‘Tree of Life’ was painted on tasser silk and he used traditional natural colours for the painting. The highlight of pattachitra paintings is the use of bright colours which are sourced from natural sources. “I dislike use of artificial colours and don’t use them in my paintings,” he elaborated.

The painting, which took him barely 15 days to finish about a year ago, will be symbolic of the ‘Conference of Parties on UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’, which will be hosted by France in December.

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