When I visited Janakhpur in 2008 to visit the Nepal Leprosy Trust (NLT) Lalguardh hospital in southern Nepal, I saw these brightly coloured paintings on the walls of houses and temples as I passed through the city. Since then, I have been fascinated by the Mithila Art created by Maithili-speaking women in the Janakhpur region (and also in Bihar, India). I was told how the Maithili women traditionally make this art on freshly plastered courtyard walls and buildings for festivals or particular occasions, using natural pigments and painted with fingers or twigs. The geometric patterns and styles are eye-catching, depicting people, animals, traditions and abstract images inspired by local life. The style is two dimensional with bold outlines, bright colours and no space left empty, any gaps are filled in by flowers or other decorative designs. More traditional Mithila art is painted in shades of red, yellow and black mixed from local clay, flower petals or turmeric and soot.
Though I loved the bright colours on the buildings, I wanted to create a one-colour screen-print design in the Mithila style depicting a rural Nepali village scene reminiscent of my five months working in a school in the Terai area of southern Nepal in 2003.
I love how bold the lines are on this design and how it can look very abstract when used in sections on our Nara Shopper. I hope to use this design or develop it further for other gift items in future!