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In the intricate world of Mata ni Pachedi artistry, the portrayal of Goddess Vahanvati, also revered as Sikotar Mata, is a sacred invocation of maritime safety and divine protection. As an artist steeped in the rich traditions of this ancient art form, each brushstroke carries the weight of maritime lore and devotion. In the depiction of Goddess Vahanvati within the Mata ni Pachedi artwork, the artist channels the essence of her divine presence. With six arms, she stands as a symbol of strength and benevolence, her form adorned with the sacred symbols of protection and prosperity. Seated upon a boat-like structure with sails unfurled, she is the guardian of seafarers, their beacon of hope amidst the tempestuous seas. Legend whispers of her boundless grace, her blessings sought by those facing the wrath of the ocean's fury. When storms rage and peril looms, seafarers turn their hearts and prayers to Goddess Vahanvati, beseeching her kind intervention and safeguarding hand. In their darkest hour, she answers their call, shielding them from the ferocity of the elements and guiding them safely to shore. Through the intricate details of the Mata ni Pachedi, the artist weaves a tapestry of faith and resilience, capturing the timeless bond between humanity and the divine. Each stroke of the brush is a testament to the enduring power of devotion, a hymn of gratitude to the goddess who watches over those who journey upon the waves. As the faithful gaze upon the artwork, they are reminded of the sacred covenant between mortals and the divine—a covenant of trust, protection, and unwavering grace. In the presence of Goddess Vahanvati, the tumultuous seas yield to the serenity of her divine embrace, and the souls of seafarers find solace in her eternal guardianship.

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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