Published: 02nd August 2019
Pattachitra comes as naturally as breathing to this artist from Bhubaneswar
Smrutiranjan Ojha, a practitioner of the delicate and detailed ancient art of Pattachitra, talks about his love for it. He continues to pursue it with his all
It was in 2013 that Smrutiranjan Ojha won Scholarship to Young Artists, a National scholarship from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. As much as Rs 5,000 was given to him every month for two years (total amount of Rs 1,20,000) which encouraged him to pursue Pattachitra with a renewed purpose. So, what is he up to now? Same old, same old. Dedicated to Pattachitra with more vigour than ever.
Smrutiranjan credits social media for helping him reach potential customers
Smrutiranjan's Pattachitra work today finds its way on silk saris including wall hangings and empty bottles too! "Appreciation from people and my own passion has propelled me to keep on working," says Smrutiranjan, who was born in Nua Pitapada in Cuttack district. Having trained for two years (from 2006 to 2008) at State Institute for Development of Arts and Crafts in Bhubaneswar and then under Shilp Guru Gokul Bihari Patnaik for about two and a half years, the youngster felt prepared to take his art to the next level. But wait, aren't parents usually wary of their children deciding to pursue careers in the field of art? "My parents, father Harekrushna Ojha and mother Anjana Ojha, have been nothing but supportive. They told me that if I have talent, I should go ahead and pursue my dream. Even my brother, who holds a government job, is very helpful. When I started on this path, I made sure that my family was in agreement with my decision," says the 31-year-old.
By the bottle: Art on bottles | (Pic: Smrutiranjan Ojha)
Smrutiranjan has always been conscious of the market and though he still maintains that they are not given what they truly deserve financially, he says it is manageable. "Though the cost of every other commodity keeps going up, the cost of paintings doesn't," he shares sadly. But the compliments he receives from social media, through which he sells his products to both international and national buyers, almost makes up for it. "People have messaged me to say that I am a very good artist and they hope that God takes me forward. Many have even blessed me," says Smrutiranjan humbly.
"I want to help more kids learn the art of Pattachitra," says Smrutiranjan Ojha
Apart from churning out masterpieces one after another, Smrutiranjan also used to teach youngsters and those who are interested in learning the delicate art of Pattachitra. One of his students have also been the famous singer Ira Mohanty. But now, work is pouring in which doesn't leave him much time for anything else. "Currently, I have employed two girls from a village to work for me and I am helping them be independent," he shares.
Behold, the artwork:
For more on him, check out instagram.com/pattachitra_by_smrutiranjan