The story of carved faces from Bengal in India

“Happy Boy”
An interesting art piece by the State Prize Winner bamboo artist- Goshtha Baisya of Ushaharan village. He works with the roots of the bamboo and carves out such beautiful showpieces.

The masks are traditional objects of worship and devotion in Bengal. The craft of Gomira Mask making is one such art form. In its pristine form, it caters to the dancers and any villager wishing to give as an offering to the village deity. The portrayal of characters through the mask depends upon the craftsman and the tradition he had inherited. The masks are usually made of wood from mango, gamar, neem, bamboo etc.

Gomira mask known as The Mermaid

During the last few decades, the Gomira masks have evolved into a coveted collectors’ item. This exposure had evidently put its impact on the style and product range. Now, apart from making the traditional character mask, the craftspersons are making several masks as well as utility items depicting the mask.

A man who carves and gives shape to the tree trunks into huge masks with intricate and minute details in his farms all alone in peace, interacting with the nature, communicating with his tools but not words without any sophistication. Artist Shankar Sarkar working on mango wood with a breadth of 30″ wide to make tribal masks to be displayed in a well known art gallery in Kolkata. Photo by: Author

Kushmandi block in Dakshin Dinajpur district of West Bengal is one of the hubs established by Banglanatakdotcom in collaboration with West Bengal government under the Rural Crafts Hub (RCH) Project.

Bamboo Masks

The craft persons of Kushmandi celebrate their annual festival Mukha Mela where visitors get to see the dance and the craft in their pristine forms. A common facility center that houses a small Museum of Masks along with the sales counter is also established at this RCH. Visitors can stay with the artists and see them working in the Guest Residency at the RCH.

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