Malavika Rao

Tanjore Painting Preservtion Club
8 minutes, 2018

Text | Images | Video

A living room set piece hand-painted in the Tanjore style. The making of the set is featured in a DIY tutorial video playing on the television. The space of the set is extended into the gallery through furniture - a rug, a couch and a houseplant.

Thanjavur (anglacized as Tanjore) Painting is a classical South-Indian painting style famous for its gold-leaf overlay and Hindu iconoraphy. Thanjavur painting was most popular in the Vijayanagara Empire in the 1600s. Most Tanjore paintings were comissioned by royals and nobles and painted by notable male artists. 

Since India’s independence in 1947, the cultural landscape in which Tanjore painting exists is shifting. Tanjore painting has been appropriated by Middle Class Hindu housewives as arts and crafts. These self-taught Tanjore artists share their learnings through DIY tutorial videos produced in their living rooms and posted to YouTube.