India is truly a vast and extremely diverse country, but somewhere many cultures and lifestyles are neglected in favour of the more mainstream and popular ones.
This is exactly what an artist from Uttarakhand wants to tackle, by using her art to promote the Pahadi culture and life to the people of India and more.
The artist is Kanchan Jadli who comes from Lansdowne, Uttarakhand.
After completing her education and working as a freelance artist for 2 years she returned to her hometown.
I had the opportunity to speak to her and she revealed that being in her village during the lockdown and her travels through rural Himalaya inspired her to use her art as a way to shed light on this community.
Jadli says she wanted to “express my love for culture and at the same time address the issues faced in rural Himalaya through my art.”
This Instagram post of the artist also spoke about the Chamoli floods that happened on 7th February 2021 in Uttarakhand.
The caption pointed out how one of the villages that were affected by the flood was the Reni village, which was the home of Gaura Devi.
Gaura Devi was one of the women of Himalaya who lead the historic Chipko Movement, one of India’s first environmental movements.
View this post on Instagram
She also said that “I feel people living in Himalaya have some great knowledge about life that should be preserved and carried forward. Like their simple, self-sufficient and minimalistic lifestyle, reverence to nature, understanding of organic and sustainable farming, knowledge about fauna.”
Her cartoon series is pretty simple, with her prime character being Lati (लाटि).
The name actually means a ‘silly girl’ in the Gadhwali and Kumaoni language. She and other characters in the series are shown wearing Pahadi attire and jewellery.
Her explanation behind the character is “I wanted to create Pahadi characters like me but also at the same time they should be someone with whom every Pahadi could connect to. One of the reasons I chose to make cartoons is that they attract children, who bear the responsibility of taking our culture forward.”
This Instagram post also sheds light on the importance of local salt in their cuisine and why it is so crucial to them.
View this post on Instagram
She also said that, “Through Lati, I connect people to different sides of Uttarakhand like tourism, language, dialects, folklore and folk tales, pilgrimage, food, history and festivals. I also aim to cover current issues like environmental degradation, wildlife and forest loss, migration and unsustainable tourism.”
Her art also pays tribute to legendary Pahadi heroes like Gaura Devi, Narendra Singh Negi and the common people.
Another reason for her art, Jadli says is that “Through my art, I want to create awareness about the issues of rural Himalaya. I want to put my message in the simplest form so it can be easily grasped by the masses. In times where we have a majority population of viewers and not readers, art can be used potentially to create awareness and bring the attention of people to much-needed issues. Social media is a great platform to connect people, so I want to use this platform to not let our rich culture fade away.”
The artist using the caricature of a cute young Pahadi girl promotes Pahadi culture, lifestyle and regional information that might not be very known to people.
She also revealed that according to her the biggest success has been “when I get messages from people telling me how their children love my art and dance with the cartoons. The messages from people thanking me for making effort to preserve disappearing culture are my energy source.”
Image Credits: Instagram
Sources: Kanchan Jadli, Instagram
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