I will be working out of state this week, and so will not be shipping or open for vistors at the gallery.   The Indigo Arts website will be active as always, I will respond to emails, and I will be able to ship orders after October 26th.

The Indigo Arts website has remained active over the last year and a half despite the widespread shutdowns due to the COVID-19 virus.   I have been able to resume regular operations.  I am able to pack and ship most orders within a few days.   Shipping times have increased during this period.  The gallery is open to visitors on an appointment only basis and according to city masking regulations.   Please phone or email ahead.  

Note:  USPS service remains very  slow.   I don't recommend it if you are in a hurry.   Please note also that USPS shipping estimates include little or no insurance, which we must charge separately.
Please stay safe!

Mahalaxmi Karn

About the Artist

Mahalaxmi Karn
Mahalaxmi Karn
Shantanu Das and Mahalaxmi Karn (courtesy of Tricia Taormina - atlasobscura.com)
Shantanu Das and Mahalaxmi Karn (courtesy of Tricia Taormina - atlasobscura.com)

Mithila painter Mahalaxmi Karn works both solo and with her husband, painter Shantanu Das, under the name Mahalaxmi Das.

According to the artists behind painting collective Mahalaxmi Das, their work “is a combination of common and uncommon things.” Their work is created with resplendent and staggering complexity, and fantastic detail. Artists Shantanu and Mahalaxmi most often paint in the Madhubani style, which originated in Bihar, specifically in the Mithila region, which is in the far Eastern part of India. Traditional Madhubani painting was heavily influenced by religious deities, as well as aspects of nature, and folklore. Historically, the colorful, painstakingly detailed works adorned walls, floors, and even ceilings of homes. It transitioned to paper only in the 1970s through an income-generation project.

Mahalaxmi and Shantanu joined together after becoming disenchanted by the monotonous work they saw flooding the commercial art scene. “We decided to break away and include subjects that were more unusual,” says Mahalaxmi, “like portraits of everyday people and even visual depictions of Hindi poems.”

Though historical precedents for Mahalaxmi’s Madhubani-influenced style depend on mythological themes and ritualistic designs, these artists are more drawn to new, everyday themes—an interest which developed into book illustration, collaborating with photographers to create mixed-media works, and even painting large-scale murals.
Despite various experiments, however, traditional techniques remain intact. When treating sensitive subjects like the ongoing injustice of a patrimonial system, the artists try to represent not only women’s pain, but also the inequality that’s still pervasive in Indian society. “We try to push the boundaries by including new themes,” explains Mahalaxmi. “It’s liberating as artists to know we can do that while still keeping the original technique intact.”

(biographical information courtesy of the International Folk Art Market)

 

About 30 miles across the border, in Bihar, India, the mononymous artist Mahalaxmi unfurls a canvas on the floor of her home, flattening it to fill the space between a bed and a table cluttered with scrolls. The painting shows her recurring dreams, many of them images she associates with being a woman who deviates from gender norms here. A departing train symbolizes her need to travel, for instance; a bride riding a motorbike represents freedom.

Mahalaxmi lives with her husband and collaborator, Shantanu Das, part time in Ranti, a village in Bihar—the same place where they grew up, learned art, and encountered ridicule when they started dating before they were married. The village is located outside Madhubani, a small town on the edge of Nepal, known as the heart of Mithila art in India.

Standing over the canvas, Das says there are too many dreams to include them all. “She was always telling me, ‘In my dreams there’s a temple I’m not allowed to enter. I’m impure because I love someone.’”

“Now some of these dreams have stopped coming,” Mahalaxmi says. “Because we’re married.”

Each day in Madhubani, trains screech into a station where every inch of wall is painted in Mithila images: a smiling sun with a handlebar mustache, women collecting mangoes in a grove, buffalo plodding through a forest.

It’s part of recent efforts in India to preserve and promote Mithila art. As in Nepal, it’s been an important source of income for women in northern Bihar. The area—pockets of which are deeply impoverished—endures frequent and severe monsoon flooding each year. To support their families, many men and some women have left, migrating abroad or to other areas of India for work.

The collage that Mahalaxmi and Das unfurled was unfinished, one of several feminist pieces they’ve collaborated on—an arrangement considered unusual among Mithila painters. The pair have been working together since 2012.

The first step in their artistic process is to envision a concept and color palette together. Once they’ve done that, Das renders a loose composition of what images will be included in the painting, which Mahalaxmi—who is trained in line art—polishes and completes by drawing and painting.

Mahalaxmi and Das’s work spans a breadth of themes, from ritual depictions to a playful series on mermaids. Their feminist pieces have drawn acclaim in India and abroad; some have been exhibited in the United States. Their ongoing series, “Household Diaries,” depicts local women in what Mahalaxmi calls their “various incarnations”— wives, mothers, workers, painters. In one painting, a child hovers above his working mother like an apparition.

(from article "India and Nepal’s Mithila Art Is Having a Feminist Renaissance:  As the region changes apace, so does an ancient style of painting".  By Tricia Taormina November 20, 2019 in atlasobscura.com)

 

Region:
Naina Jogin (the eye goddess)
SKU: MHXD-2120

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019.  Acrylic on paper (19 1/2” x 12 3/4” on 22” x 15” sheet).

$450

Mother and Son
SKU: MHXD-2117

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2021
Acrylic on paper (13 3/4” x 9 3/4” on 15” x 11” sheet).

$360

Mother Massaging the baby
SKU: MHXD-2118

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2021
Acrylic on paper (13 3/4” x 9 3/4” on 15” x 11” sheet).

$360

Matsya Talking to the Fish
SKU: MHXD-2112

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2020
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$225

Fisherman Taking Small fishes out of the net
SKU: MHXD-2107

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$225

Woman Waving Away the Crow
SKU: MHXD-2108

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$225

Woman Plucking Flowers
SKU: MHXD-2110

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2018
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$225

Fisherman Casting his Net
SKU: MHXD-2111

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$225

Mermaid Holding Lotus Flowers
SKU: MHXD-2115

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2020
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$225

Husband Reading While Wife Massages his Feet
SKU: MHXD-2109

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2021
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$225

The Vegetable Seller
SKU: MHXD-2114

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$210

Woman Knitting
SKU: MHXD-2116

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2021
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$210

A Brahmin Man Walking Home with Vegetables
SKU: MHXD-2101

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (6” x 4” on 7” x 5” sheet).

$85

Fisherman
SKU: MHXD-1905

Madhubani, Bihar, India
c.2019
Acrylic on paper (7 1/2" x 5 1/2" sheet).

$75

Matsya and Four Lotuses
SKU: MHXD-1909

Madhubani, Bihar, India
c.2019
Acrylic on paper (6 3/8" x 4 3/8" on 7 1/2" x 5 1/2" sheet).

$75

Monkey Riding on Elephant
SKU: MHXD-2119

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019.  Acrylic on paper (19 1/2” x 12 3/4” on 22” x 15” sheet).

$450

Product Status: 
Sold
Mother and Daughter Going to School
SKU: MHXD-1910

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (20 5/8" x 13 5/8" on 20" x 15" sheet).

$375

Product Status: 
Sold
Husband Reads the Newspaper While his Wife Massages his Feet
SKU: MHXD-1911

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (20 5/8" x 13 5/8" on 20" x 15" sheet).

$375

Product Status: 
Sold
Matasya Kanya (mermaid with lotus and fish)
SKU: MHXD-1902

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2018
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2" x 7 1/4" on 11 3/4" x 8 1/4" sheet).

$225

Product Status: 
Sold
Matasya with Fish
SKU: MHXD-1901

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (10" x 8" on 14" x 11" sheet).

$225

Product Status: 
Sold
Girl under an umbrella
SKU: MHXD-2105

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$225

Product Status: 
Sold
Seated Woman Taking a Selfie
SKU: MHXD-2106

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2021
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$225

Product Status: 
Sold
Waiting for the Pandemic to End
SKU: MHXD-2113

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2021
Acrylic on paper (10 1/2” x 7 1/8” on 11 5/8” x 8 1/4” sheet)

$210

Product Status: 
Sold
Mother Train (bringing the labourers home after the Covid lockdown)
SKU: MHXD-2104

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2020
Acrylic on paper (6 3/8” x  8 1/8” on 7 1/4” x 9 1/8” sheet)

$175

Product Status: 
Sold
Selfie - Two Mermaids
SKU: MHXD-1903

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (9" x 7" on 10" x 8" sheet).

$95

Product Status: 
Sold
Matasya holding Lotus
SKU: MHXD-1904

Madhubani, Bihar, India
c.2018
Acrylic on paper (7 3/4" x 4 3/4" on 8 1/4" x 6" sheet).

$85

Product Status: 
Sold
Matasya and the Snake
SKU: MHXD-1908

Madhubani, Bihar, India
c.2019
Acrylic on paper (6 3/8" x 4 3/8" on 7 1/2" x 5 1/2" sheet).

$75

Product Status: 
Sold
Lady Getting Ready
SKU: MHXD-1907

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (6" x 4" on 7" x 5" sheet).

$75

Product Status: 
Sold
Lady with a Fan
SKU: MHXD-1906

Madhubani, Bihar, India
2019
Acrylic on paper (6" x 4" on 7" x 5" sheet).

$75

Product Status: 
Sold