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A state and nation awardee, the late Yamuna Devi was the first Dalit (lowest caste in the traditional Indian caste system) woman to gain recognition for her Madhubani or Mithila...
A state and nation awardee, the late Yamuna Devi was the first Dalit (lowest caste in the traditional Indian caste system) woman to gain recognition for her Madhubani or Mithila painting style. She performed rituals and sang songs while painting and used Holi colours to paint, a tradition exclusively used by the Brahmins and the Kayashth (higher Indian castes) communities previously.
The different styles of the Mithila school of painting are Lokchitra, Tantrik, and Godna. This painting is done in Godna style which is the tattoo art tradition, inspired by body painting using natural colors on cow dung washed handmade paper. Dalit artists mainly made Godna paintings, as they were not allowed to symbolize deities. Mainly using black paint, the paintings reflect primitive art by creating replications of the same image. Previously, the artists found inspiration from flora and fauna but now they do illustrations on Hindu epics and mythologies. Influenced by the higher caste Mithila painters, the Dalit artists now also user a wider colour palette. This style is easily recognizable by its sepia background that is attained through applying cow dung diluted water on paper.