The vivid colorings of Cheriyal scroll artwork had been bringing people tales and spiritual texts to lifestyles for centuries. Today, it’s struggling to stay relevant

In a small city, 90 kilometers away from Hyderabad, live the few remaining families defensive and propagating Cheriyal, an artwork shape of painting scrolls for storytelling. Named after the metropolis, the form was practiced by using these households and their ancestors because of the Twelfth Century, in line with the family’s youngest proponent, 27-year-vintage Sai Kiran Varma, who’s coming to the city to maintain a workshop at the craft.

“Earlier, storytellers could travel from village to village, unique audiences with people tales from one of a kind communities and memories from The Mahabharata and The Ramayana,” says Sai Kiran, “My fantastic-grandfather might make scrolls, depicting these memories, which the storytellers would convey with them.”

The scrolls had been — and are nonetheless — made on khaki cloth, lined with tamarind seed paste, rice starch, chalk powder, and Truman (tree) gum. “The mixture is boiled collectively, filtered with cotton fabric, and then implemented to the canvas, which may be reduced into different sizes after drying,” he says.
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The colors used too, are absolutely natural: “The white color is from seashell powder or zinc oxide; black from kerosene and lamp soot; pink and yellow from stones. We get the pores and skin color from turmeric and blues from indigo,” he says.

The hues, powdered using a mortar and pestle, are saved as a paste in terracotta pots for up to two months. “In my grandfather’s time, they’d make those hues themselves, but we purchase the natural hues from shops in Delhi every time we pass there.”

A partnership

For many years, the Cheriyal art form lived in close symbiosis with the art of storytelling. “Different groups have their own storytellers: the toddy tapping Goud network have Gouda Shetty, as an instance,” he explains. “When these storytellers narrate testimonies, they might use our scrolls as a visual aid.”

The Cheriyal artists also make wooden masks and dolls for the testimonies, the use of tamarind paste and sawdust. “The Katamaraju Katha has fifty-three characters, all made into doll forms,” he says, regarding the epic Telugu ballad approximately a battle among a chieftain and the king of Nellore.

“The storytellers would sing and dance with those life-sized dolls and masks, or use them as puppets,” he says.

However, as the lifestyle of storytelling died out, the necessity for this art form additionally waned. “Today, storytellers go to villages in Warangal district, and Khammam district, in which there nonetheless aren’t many cinema theatres,” he says.

Fighting strong

When Sai Kiran began getting into the artwork form, his parents discouraged him. “The notion there has been no future in it,” he says. But he was adamant. “Somebody has to maintain doing it, otherwise how will the art stay alive?”

“My parents don’t have the communique and advertising talents that I do. I can make certain that humans are extra aware of this art form,” he says.

Once the craft became acknowledged by the Government, and his grandfather obtained a National Award in 1983, it became simpler for them to be invited to background festivals and exhibitions. “We even started telling our own testimonies about farms and rural life,” he says. The paintings now also feature on keychains and cellular phone covers.

He started out speakme to different establishments about carrying out workshops. In Chennai, it changed into Mudakaram, run by way of Arti Lal, that were given in touch with him. “Sharing our talents with others is the only manner we are able to get the artwork form to live on,” he says.

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