First published:Spring 2006
What makes Pushpa special as an artist is that although she is rooted in her centuries-old tradition, she has incorporated not only contemporary ideas and treatment but also an artistic intensity, an aesthetic ideal that is truly her own. Not content with painting the same stereotypical images of gods and goddesses or placid pastoral village scenes, Pushpa constantly seeks out new subjects, experimenting with new ways to stretch the boundaries of Madhubani art. She uses her work and the stylistic devices of Madhubani painting to sharply focus and at times even subtly challenge the subjects she chooses.
The themes for her drawings are garnered from deep within the Hindu epics and holy scriptures; from folk stories heard as a child while half-asleep in her grandmother’s lap; from fragments of conversation remembered at some later date. And so her pictures depict a wide range of subjects and events: tales of brave warriors from ancient history, or universal primordial concerns such as birth and death, or contemporary issues such as the female foeticide prevalent in India.