The second day of Seraikella Chhau mask making exhibition and workshop was quite prolific. After its grand inauguration, almost 50 students from all over Jharkhand received the first step of training on Seraikella Chhau Mask Making from Sumit Mahapatra, disciple and son of Guru Sushant Mahapatra, on March 14, 2019. The workshop began at 10 am and concluded at 5 pm. This grand event is being conducted under the supervision and guidance of Dr. Ajay Kumar Mishra, Regional Director, IGNCA. Throughout the ongoing workshop, Mahapatra is being assisted by DakeswarMahato, Ravi Nayak, Abhi Nayak and Bauribandhu Mahato.
More than 60 people visited the exhibition and among them, some also took interest in participating in the workshop. The Centre witnessed the presence of some important guests namely, Prof. Ramesh Kr. Pandey, Vice Chancellor, Ranchi University; Kalyan K. Chatterjee, IFS (Retired); Prof. A.P. Singh, Lucknow University and Prof. Mohan K. Gautam, Chancellor & President, Director-PIO Institute, European University of West & East, Netherlands. They were extremely impressed with the traditional art and culture of Jharkhand and appreciated the artists. Through the workshop, the artists, art lovers and upcoming art aspirants are being benefitted. The traditional art form of mask making is also gaining further popularity. The making of a mask goes through many stages. 8–10 layers of soft paper, immersed in diluted glue, are pasted one after another on the mould before the mud mould is dusted with fine ash powder. The facial features are made of clay. A special layer of mud and cloth is applied and the mask is then sun-dried. After this, the mould is polished and a second round of sun drying is done before separating the layers of cloth and paper from the mould. After finishing and drilling of holes for the nose and eyes, the mask is coloured and decorated.
Among all these steps, the first step of mask making was taught to the participants of the workshop on the second day. The mud with which the masks are prepared was mixed with water and mould was formed.
The mud mould was given shape of the mask and eyes and nose was shaped on it.
The next step will be continued on 15th March 2019, the third day of the workshop, where, the lips and ears will be cut out in shape and a base colour will be added to the mask.
The participants expressed great excitement and joy in learning such a unique art. When asked, one of the participants said, “I have always loved art and when I visited the exhibition, I made up my mind to learn how to make such colourful masks. It is a very exciting experience for me.” Spectators of the workshop and exhibition was also hooked to the documentary film on Seraikella Chhau mask making that was continuously being played in the exhibition.