Masan painting is one of the earliest artwork. The origins of the art form include parts of Assam in India, Meghalaya, northwest of Bengal, Bihar, eastern Nepal and northern Bangladesh.
The word ‘masan’ comes from ‘ashashan’ (a Bengali word for the Hindu desert). Rajbonshis, a tribal group, is a major defender of the art form also known as ‘masan chitrakala’ in Bengali.
Indian artist Madhusudan Das brings ‘masan painting’ as a form of modern art. There is a great cultural and religious significance among the Rajbonshi community, according to a media statement.
The people of ‘Rajbonshi have used this form of art to make the masan puja (worship) that exists today as many of them have changed their way of life. However, some older people still do this puja in limited quantities, ‘said the singer, who graduated from Kala Bhavan of Visva Bharti University in Santiniketan, West Bengal.
‘Preparing a research paper on contemporary art of the Indian , I visited the houses of Rajbongshis to gather information on the amazing painting of the masan. I also spent a few days with them and tried to read about it. Therefore, I am inspired to paint this art and their way of life, ”said the artist.
Explaining the artistic background, Das said, ‘Artists who make great sculptural paintings are called malakar (garland maker). They make different motifs and structures with shola (wild plant). They also use handmade brushes and natural colors in shola motifs that have special significance among the people of Rajbongshi. They use the motives of healing the sick, celebrating the birth of children and making a topor (groom’s headwear) and the Kukt (bride’s headdress) at a wedding ceremony. ‘
‘After the coronavirus epidemic, I will be organizing a large masan painting exhibition highlighting its cultural values and artistic significance. Apart from that, I will work to preserve this ancient art in museums so that art lovers can get creative ideas and enthusiasm to work on it, ‘said Das.