Sohrai Khovar Painting

Context:Jharkhand’s Sohrai Khovar painting was given Geographical Indication (GI) tag recently. Sohrai Kala Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti Limited had applied for GI .

Sohrai Khovar painting is a traditional and ritualistic mural art (A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent surfaces.)

  • Khovar refers to the decoration of the marriage chambers and Sohrai is the painting of the harvest on the mud houses, repairing it after the rains and giving thanks to the forces of nature. The two major stylistic divisions are based on the seasons of marriage and harvest.
  • It is practiced by local tribal women during local harvest and marriage seasons.
  • Popular in Hazaribagh region of Jharkhand, the folk art draws heavily from the forest life. Sparrows, peacocks, squirrels and cows inhabit the world of Sohrai and Khovar paintings.In recent times, for promotional purposes, it has been seen in other parts of Jharkhand as well.
  • In recent years, the walls of important public places in Jharkhand, such as the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi, and the Hazaribagh and Tatanagar Railway Stations, etc have been decorated with Sohrai-Khovar paintings.
  • The painting is made using local, naturally available soils of different colours.
  • SohraiKhovar paintings are traditionally made on the walls of mud houses. They are now seen on other surfaces too.
  • The style is characterized by a profusion of lines , circles, animal figures and plants, which also reflect religious iconography.
  • The Khovar and Sohrai art seems to have vanished in the villages in recent years since mud walls are being replaced by brick and cement plaster. Another major concern is increasing migration to the cities. Also, young girls are reluctant to undertake the strenuous work of painting. Displacement of agricultural settlements because of mining activities and large thermal power projects constitute a major threat to the continuance of the age-old practices of Jharkhand’s rural communities.