Just like the Japanese cherry blossoms, the art of Alpana (Alpona in bengali) is created only to fade away with time / blow away with the wind – just like those fleeting moments of life.
Did You Know :
- There are different Alpana designs for each season, based on fasting rituals that women in the communities observe! In this image, corresponding to the month of Agrahayana, i.e, November / December – the patterns are dedicated to the Senjuti broto (bengali for ‘vrat’). This is basically the “observance of the evening lamp”!!!
- In this Alpana, the Mynah bird is a recurrent motif.
- Now, not all fasts are for good !! This Senjuti one in particular is to keep the co-wives at bay!
As times move ahead, and stickers replace creative designs, an awesome thing to have happened is that Alpana is part of the Fine Arts curriculum at Shantiniketan. You just cannot miss the Nandalal Bose inspiration there! Our only wish this year is to have arts integrated with education so our traditions are forever alive!!
Image: This illustration from a Bengali Calendar (1930) is part of the Mukul Dey Archives, Shantiniketan.