So what if she has brought laurels to the the state, Vijaya Laxmi lives in obscurity.
That is because of the apathy of the government and the society towards the Madhubani paintings of Mithila. A resident of Asia’s largest labour colony Bhuli, Dhanbad, Vijaya Laxmi Devi started painting, inspired by the rich Madhubani tradition of Bihar.
A die-hard fan of Padmashree awardee Sita Devi, Vijaya Laxmi held several solo exhibitions across the country, including Kolkata, Patna, Allahabad, Delhi, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and Varanasi.
She is also an admirer of Godavari Dutta, a national award winner Madhubani painter.
Vijaya Laxmi says she uses readymade colours, manufactured commercially by famous companies like Camlin, to paint on cloth. However, on paper, traditional dyes are used even today. She says Mahasundri Devi of Rathi village introduced cloth painting in 1978. Prior to that, women painted Madhubani motifs on paper. Explaining the different genres of Madhubani art, Vijaya, who is all set to start a centre —Mithila Chitrakala Kendra — at 'C' block in Bhuli, says the Madhubani paintings are divided into the Brahmin sahili, Harijan and the Kanchi styles.
A fine arts student from Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh, Vijaya feels Dhanbad is not the right place for promotion of Madhubani paintings. Vijaya, daughter of a BCCL employee, says there is need to create awareness about the age-old Bihar folk art in the district.