Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Paris/Bhubaneswar, Apr 12:
After US First Lady Michelle Obama handpicked Odisha-born Indian American Bibhu Mohapatra to design her outfits during her last visit to India with her husband President Barack Obama in January this year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen another Odisha artist’s creation as a gift for French President Francois Hollande.
Odisha based artist, Bhaskar Mahapatra, hailing from the heritage crafts village of Raghurajpur in Puri district, has prepared a painting on silk titled ‘Tree of Life’ which reflects the traditional societal respect for nature in India. Narendra Modi, who wound up his maiden visit to France, gifted Mohapatra’s meticulously crafted art to Francois Hollande.
A Lalit Kala Akademi award-winning artist, Mohapatra has won many accolades for his expertise in palm leaf painting, commonly known as pattachitra in Odisha.
Ahead of the global meet on climate change to be hosted by France in December this year, the message behind the painting clearly sends out a message on sustenance of life and clean environment.
“The tree, as a divine gift central to human life, is a recurring element in Indian artistic practice. The Tree of Life, with multiple roots and branches like a banyan tree, is a motif for a tree’s benevolence, fruit, seeds, shelter, healing, procreation and regeneration faculties that sustain life and clean the environment,” a PMO statement said.
It may be recalled that the New York-based internationally acclaimed designer, Bibhu Mohapatra, had hogged the limelight after Michelle Obama emerged out of the Air Force One wearing a knee-length printed floral dress and a coat, designed by Mohapatra, accompanied by US President Barack Obama for a three-day visit to India in January this year.