With a rich heritage going back to pre-historic times, it is hardly surprising Indian traditional artforms from each corner of the country are not only colorful and vibrant but each of these tell a unique cultural story. Often folk or tribal artists from respective regions have been practicing it for generations, and the arts in itself represents ancient folklores and ways of life on the palette. It is equally exciting that art connoisseurs and collectors value the richness though the native artists hardly receive proportionate returns from the economic value created in the process. It is surprising indeed that most native artists (including award winning artists
and Padma Shri
) often find economic sustenance extremely difficult despite spending their generations and lifetimes to sustain these rich artforms. Especially so during the current pandemic. Catterfly decided to step in and offer our best support to the artists as well as a very positive way for people to de-stress and stay engaged when every little bit helps.
Pre-COVID, Catterfly was managing art based travel and one could visit the art centers like Madhubani
to learn the art from native artists and also understand the overall culture and history. It completely stopped with COVID restrictions, but our teams worked extensively with native artists to train them, curate workshops and developed a digital platform wherein they can teach their artforms to anyone who is interested. Starting with short workshops on Madhubani
Art - soon enough Catterfly team
and native artists
were conducting daily workshops on different arts and specific themes for participants from India and abroad
, school students, 8-year-old excited kids
and 80-year-old- art connoisseurs, cancer patients and cancer doctors
, homemakers, and office goers. Currently, artists from at least 8-10 art clusters
of India work with us regularly. Workshop participants
on the other hand suggest that it is therapeutic, meditative, relaxing, and they can develop their own masterpieces while learning about unique art and cultures; something that was never considered possible without traveling. Catterfly could help native artists to generate their income with dignity, especially when their economic sustenance was at risk. Within a few months, Catterfly launched several variants with a subscription model for kids and regular participants
, weekdays & weekend special workshops
, employee engagement exercises for corporates
, live events of performance arts
, and culture festivals
from different parts of India – all digital interactive experiences
delivered and consumed remotely.
As digital workshops picked momentum, artists asked Catterfly to help with selling and marketing their artwork. There are more and enough art resellers, galleries and online stores that actually focus on this space within the country and internationally. We were bit unsure about the help that we could provide but a closer look suggested that native artists are at the receiving end here as well, and barely get 20-25% of the final price that the buyer actually pays. Of course, intermediaries deliver some value and there is a cost involved in online/offline marketing, physical storage, inventory and distribution channel management; but still there is a huge disparity. Glaring question for Catterfly was – can we reverse the equation so artist get 70-80% of the final price at least? This requires new approach to marketing and distribution, finding ways to directly reach the buyers, museums, art exhibitions, and working with the artist to help them adopt the digital platform. Several creative interventions at once, and typically requires an iterative approach to scale it further. We decided to manage it as a social impact initiative and after launching digital interactive online workshops with native artists, this is the logical next steps for Catterfly Digital initiative in Travel . Art . Culture.
As a part of this, we are working with reference based model to reach the buyers, creative approach to sell the stories behind the painting, community selling, reaching out to art exhibitors and museums for showcasing the artwork of artists, conducting digital events. And, in the background – our team did rapid changes to our web-platform to showcase the work, curated the product catalogue while working alongside several artists, and we soon plan to give the power in their hands to directly reach the end customers in a seamless fashion. In the meanwhile, one can check the current catalogue on various arts forms. Some of the paintings from our award winning artists are already featured here,
and you can also request us to make any custom size, design or theme based on your interest. Just let us know
- Madhubani painting is an ancient art form from the Mithila region. This region refers to parts of modern day Bihar, Jharkand & Nepal. ‘Mithila’ is a very distinct region in terms of language, art and even cuisine. The region is said to be the fabled kingdom of Janaka, father of Sita. In fact, the story goes that during Ram & Sita's wedding, King Janaka ordered the walls the palace to be painted, and this is how the Madhubani style of painting originated. Madhubani has five distinct styles – Kachni, Bharni, Tantrik, Kohbar, Gonda, and you can view some paintings here
- You have seen the stick-like figures everywhere, on saris, rugs, lampshades and more. Two triangles, one inverted and joined at the tip, with simple lines depicting motions - this is the ancient art of the Warli tribe. The Warlis live around the mountainous and coastal region around the Gujrat & Maharshtra border in Western India. While much of their lives have been changed with the advent of modernisation, they still retain their unique propensity for recording the passage of time through the lens of art. There is evidence of the art finding its origins in cave painting from Neolithic times. Let's explore the different themes of Warli Art with an online catalogue
it is a general term for traditional, cloth-based scroll painting, based in the eastern Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal. Patachitra artform is known for its intricate details and artists working with Catterfly have been recognized as UNESCO heritage artists as well as their paintings adorn the walls of dignitaries like past French President (who received this as a gift from Indian Prime Minister during his visit to India). While the traditional themes focus on mythological narratives and folktales inscribed in it, our artists also work on some very unique ideas like Palm Leaves, Playing Cards – Ganjifa, Pattachitra on Kettle and other surfaces, and we invite you to check this exquisite collection here
- Gond paintings are a form of tribal art that is practiced by one of the largest tribes in central India with whom it shares its name. Gond comes from the Dravidian expression, Kond which means 'the green mountain'. ... Gond paintings are a reflection of man's close connection with his natural surroundings. Besides the main nature based theme, our artists have worked on several themes including ‘Night Life of a Tree’, Colorful Gond, Modern and festival based themes, and you could check some of these here
- Pichwai is created to depict the story of Shrinathji, another form of Lord Krishna holding the Govardhan hill. The cloth that is used as the backdrop for Shrinathji in his shrine is painted to give the wholesome effect to the surroundings. Shrinathji's figurines are drawn with other important elements that were the part of his life like cows and the likes. This is how Pichwai was born in Nathdwara. This 400 years old visually stunning art form majorly depicts the life tales of Shrinathji, the Child Avatar of Lord Krishna, each story uniquely suited to a particular season or festival. Creating a Pichwai can take several months, and requires immense skill, as the smallest details need to be painted with precision and we are sure this is easy to appreciate here
Hope you enjoyed this colorful art collection! Catterfly is happy to engage with art curators, museums, buyers and anyone who is willing to lend a helping hand to this important social impact initiative. We truly believe, small incremental changes managed with a forward looking vision along with right people can drive economic shifts – and nothing more satisfying to do it for the artists who are the true torch bearers of our rich cultural heritage!