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Vahanvati Shikotar Ma

About Art: Vahanvati Shikotar Ma

In the sacred tradition of Mata ni Pachedi, the artist's journey unfolds like a colorful narrative woven into the fabric of devotion. Commissioned during the auspicious Navratri, the artist's hands move with reverence and skill, painting the divine story upon the canvas of cloth. At the heart of each Mata ni Pachedi lies the divine Mother Goddess, her presence commanding awe and respect. With careful strokes, the artist frames her within a celestial shrine, her radiance illuminating the cosmos. Around her, a tapestry of devotion unfolds, invoking the myriad incarnations and legends that echo through time. Guided by the ancestral whispers of the Vaghari artists who came before, the artist renders each deity with authenticity and reverence. Chamundi rides her lion, Mamai Mata perches atop her regal camel, and Vahanvati traverses celestial waters in her sacred vessel—all find their place within the sacred art. Beyond mere depiction, the canvas becomes a sacred realm where rituals and ceremonies of worship come to life. Musicians fill the air with melodious strains, invoking the divine with each note. The shaman, holding his whisk of peacock feathers aloft, channels ancient wisdom and divine blessings. And amidst it all, the sacrificial goat stands as a testament to the eternal cycle of devotion and sacrifice. Through the art, a portal to the divine is offered—a sanctuary where devotees may immerse themselves in reverence and prayer. Each brushstroke carries the weight of tradition, each color a reflection of the divine essence that permeates the world. As Navratri dawns and the faithful gather in reverence, the Mata ni Pachedi stands as a testament to the enduring power of faith and devotion—a sacred tapestry woven with threads of tradition, love, and divine grace.

About the Artist: Jagdish Waghibhai Chitara

Jagdish hails from a village called Aghar, near Ahmedabad. He was born in 1972 and was selling his painted wares on the streets when he was found by Gita Wolf of Tara Books for The Great Race.

Traditionally created by artisans from the nomadic Vaghari community in Gujarat, the Mata ni Pachhedi, these votive cloths offer a painted image of the goddess to herself. Gifting a piece of creation to the creator is considered the highest form of worship. Hand block-printed on textile, this limited-edition artists’ book is in the form of a cloth shrine. It pays tribute not only to a sublime conception of the power of art but also to the labour involved in creating it.

It is believed that the nomadic Devipujak community (Vaghari) of Gujarat belonged to a lower caste and were labelled as ‘untouchables’ due to which they were barred from entering temples and other religious places. They painted illustrations of the Goddess on a piece of cloth known as Mata Ni Pachedi, hung it behind the temple and directed their worship at the painting of the goddess. There are approximately 999 avatars of the Goddess which give rise to around 999 variants of the pachedi each narrating a different tale.

Traditionally red, maroon, black and white colours were used to paint the pachedis. Each colour has its own significance. Black wards off the evil, red is used to depict the goddess, maroon for mother earth and black and white are associated with purity.

His exhibit with us is titled Mata ni Pachedi, a natural dye on cloth made in 2021.

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