Bihar is the home of various art forms be it Madhubani painting or Sujni art. Tikuli art is also one of the most used artforms from Bihar. Tikuli is a local word used in Bihar refers to the ‘bindis’ which the women of Bihar wear as an accessory These are a part of their ‘solah shringar’ and are generally round shaped red coloured dot. This indicates the women’s empowerment and intellectual property in modern Bihar. It enhances the beauty of a woman and also is a symbol of a happy married life.
Tikuli art is influenced by this tiny, tangled tikuli and is originated from Patna over 8 centuries ago. It consists of paintings manufactured in the local context. The Mughals promoted this form as they were mesmerized by the underlying significance of this art form. This art form is very unique and no other artform comparing to this is found outside Bihar. It gravitated the traders to Patna and they purchased these paintings in large quantities.
This art form requires a great deal of skill. The paintings are very expensive as the quality and price are proportional to the amount of refinement the work requires. Even a small piece of painting requires quite detailing.
The crafting of tikuli art requires a great amount of patience which makes the process quite unexciting. Artists employ high-density fibreboards as their surface to draw on to cut it into embellished shapes. These are coated with four or five layers of enamel. After each coat, the surface is rubbed with sandpaper to give it a glossy polished effect. After applying the final coat, the designs are drawn on it with the use of paints, gold foils, crystals and brushes are used for it. Spring and summer are the best seasons to create as it gives the optimum temperature for drying enamel and paint.
From the passing time, the tikuli artform didn’t manage to survive into the market and was vanishing due to the industrialization. Mr Ashok Kumar Biswas, along with his wife Shibani Biswas devoted his time to bring back this artform by employing artists and also provided financial support to 300 artists for their livelihood through this. He also made this artform popular in India as well as foreign countries. He represented this artform in Bihar Divas in Bihar and Jaipur. He also showcased this artform in Seoul, South Korea and left the public stunned.
Chitracharya Padmashree Upendra Marathi is one such man who brought back this artform and portrayed it on glazed hardboards during an exhibition in Japan.