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Masterpieces from Gujarat to Braj steal the spotlight at Jammu’s ‘Sama-Vaya’ national art camp

The ‘Sama-Vaya’ national art camp in Jammu showcased the ancient art forms of Mata Ni Pachedi and Sanjhi.

The ancient intricate art form of ‘Mata Ni Pachedi’ from Gujarat along with the timeless allure of Braj’s Sanjhi art were the highlights of the ‘Sama-Vaya’ national art camp held amid the picturesque landscapes of Sanget Valley in Jammu. Jammu’s first art retreat Sama-Vaya concluded on Sunday after five days of fruitful collaborations at Skyview by Empyrean in the cherished Patnitop tourist destination. Six artists and craftsmen showcased their individual and collective masterpiece works.

One of the artists at the camp-cum-exhibition was National Award recipient Sanjay Manubhai Chitara, whose ‘Mata Ni Pachedi’ painting depicting goddess Durga was recently presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his UK counterpart Rishi Sunak. This art form, passed down through generations, holds great cultural significance. The Vaghari community from Gujarat, when barred from temples, created their own shrines on cloth with natural colours and named them “Mata Ni Pachedi”.

“I have come from Ahmedabad in Gujarat to take part in this painting conclave. Mata Ni Pachedi is a traditional art of Gujarat which is three hundred years old. It is made from natural colours and bamboo sticks. The paintings depict Wanwati Mata. It is a full-fledged story on canvas”, Chitara, who was awarded by former president Abdul Kalam in 2000, told PTI.

Sanjhi art, from the culturally rich land of Braj in Uttar Pradesh, was also showcased at the camp. Award-winning artist Mohan Kumar Verma displayed his fifth-generation tradition through Braj art, which focuses on Lord Krishna. Verma, who is a Sanjhi paper-cutting artist, said, “We have come here from Mathura to showcase our traditional art in this beautiful valley of Kashmir. Sanhji paper cutting is ancient Braj art. It is usually made in front of Krishna idols in temples for a fortnight. However, we are making such paintings throughout the year to survive this art”, Verma told PTI.

The Sama-Vaya art retreat, curated by Anupa Mehta and Anuradha Sorabjee, brought together award-winning artisans and craftsmen like Mohan Kumar Verma, Ramesh Hengadi, and Sanjay Chitara, along with contemporary artists Sarika Mehta, Bhairavi Modi, and Kanchan Chander. Painter Sarika Mehta of Gujarat said she was grateful for the wonderful environment provided to artists by the organisers.

The camp drew top local artists, painters, teachers, students, and art enthusiasts from all over the country. They interacted with nature to draw inspiration for their art, creating beautiful pieces through various art forms. Students from the Institute of Music and Fine Arts (IMFA) in Jammu University engaged with the artists, exchanging ideas and experiences, enriching the event.

“The artists who have come from outside have worked on various themes including landscape, abstract, figurative etc. More such activity should take place in the state and private players should come forward. Such big artists interacting with young students will be a very fruitful experience for our institution and generations here”, Prof Rakesh Sharma, head of department, Applied Arts, IMFA said.

“The camp has given great exposure to students of fine arts like us. We have seen a wide range of colours, expressions and ideas in these paintings. It is a good initiative and such things should continue in future too,” Sikanda Sharma, a student of IMFA, said.

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