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Malvika Raaj Biography, Wiki

Malvika Raaj is a fashion designer and artist from India. Malvika Raaj does art in the Madhubani genre.
Malvika Raaj Biography, Wiki

Malvika Raaj is a fashion designer and artist from India. Malvika Raaj does art in the Madhubani genre. Malvika Raaj used traditional techniques to portray topics pertaining to Dalit identity and Buddhism, and as a Dalit, she has utilised art to share her experiences with caste-based prejudice in India.

Malvika Raaj Life

Raaj attended the Northern India Institute of Fashion Technology in Mohali, Punjab, then moving to Patna, Bihar. Malvika Raaj hails from a Dalit family and gives special gratitude to her father for educating her about Dalit history, politics, and leadership in India, as well as the intimate connections between Buddhism and Dalit identity.

Malvika Raaj Career

Raaj was a fashion designer in Delhi at first, but he had to return to Patna for medical reasons. Malvika Raaj received Madhubani training from artist Ashok Biswas while recovering at home. While continuing her training in Samastipur, Bihar, she also studied the customs and iconography followed by Dalit women who created Madhubani-style paintings in their homes.

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Raaj draws inspiration for her artwork from the traditional Madhubani painting, which was mostly produced by women in her native state of Bihar using paint made from rice flour on mud walls. Raaj specialises in a style of Madhubani art known as “Kobhar,” which translates to “honey forest” and is characterised by the use of natural imagery to adorn walls during wedding festivities. Speaking about the discrimination she encountered when researching Madhubani art, Raaj stated,

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Traditionally, only Brahmins have been permitted to work on the Tantric subgroup of Madhubani painting. I met a Tantric artist while travelling, and when I asked him if he could teach me the style, he flatly refused, using my Dalit heritage as justification. He threatened to punish me when I told him that I could learn the art form on my own by studying the technique in sufficient detail. Everyone’s perception of caste is so ingrained that even a Dalit artist from the area urged me not to paint in the Tantric style out of concern for my safety.

Raaj has said that she is uncomfortable using Hindu mythology in her artwork because of these and other incidents. Raaj’s work, therefore, employs Madhubani techniques and styles; however, her imagery draws from various sources, including Buddhism and the history of Dalit conversion to that faith, Dalit political leaders and social reformers such as B R Ambedkar and Savitribai Phule, and political and social aspects of the historical and ongoing discrimination faced by Dalits as a result of India’s caste system.

Malvika Raaj has said that her first painting was a scene from the life of the Buddha. Malvika Raj also paints scenes with Buddhist imagery, such as moments from the Buddha’s life. Edinburgh University has a portrait of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar by Raaj on exhibit.

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Raaj has reported that she has encountered resistance for her appropriation of religious themes in Madhubani artwork. Raaj’s artwork has been shown in India, including at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Lalit Kala Akademi in Delhi, as well as the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai. Raaj is not just an artist but also a businesswoman who creates clothes with Madhubani motifs and trains rural women to paint on outfits. Articles on modern Dalit politics and identity in Outlook and Mint have utilised her work as illustrations. Sangeeta Mulay’s book “Savitribai Phule and I,” which Raaj recently illustrated, was written.

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