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Baua Devi

(b. Late 1940s) Born in Jitwarpur, Bihar, Baua Devi is one of the pioneers of Madhubani painting, an ancient folk art the region is known for. She is the only Mithila artist to be included in the ground breaking show ''Magicians of the Earth'' at Centre Pompidou (Paris) in 1988. Devi was the youngest among the first group of artists who transported traditional Maithili patterns onto white sheets of paper when Pupul Jayakar, director, All India Handicrafts Board, sent Mumbai artist Bhaskar Kulkarni to Madhubani in Bihar in 1966. Baua Devi's work ranges from paintings on small sheets to canvases up to 16-20 feet high, giving her own interpretations to folk tales. She reworks the legend of Krishna in some, while the grand wedding of Ram and Sita is the focus in others, with the emphasis on Sita’s narrative. Despite the modernisation in form and theme, she still prefers painting using natural colours. Black is made by blending soot and cow dung, green comes from leaves, white from rice powder and red from vermilion.Her work is regularly exhibited in Spain, Paris and Japan. She was the recipient of the National Award in 1984.