Vaidehi: Sita Beyond the body

  • Introduction .
  • Concept note.
  • Aim& Objectives .
  • About.
  • Panel of Judges .
  • Achievements.
  • Timeline.
  • Key highlights .


“Vaidehi: Sita beyond the body” is an international exhibition conducted by Madhubani Literature Festival, a flagship event of Centre for Studies of Traditions and systems in collaboration with Madhubani Art Centre. The exhibition is based on a concept of Mata Sita, daughter of Mithila where she is brought in all her different roles and forms on the canvas. The exhibition is open to all artists doing Mithila painting.
Madhubani Literature Festival in collaboration with Madhubani Art Centre feels blessed to announce a Mithila painting curated exhibition named वैदेही and Sita themed coffee table book during its fourth edition in 2021.

Concept note:

Mithila with an enormous rich intellectual tradition also engaged in an aesthetic value of profound curiosity where body is absent in the mind-body discourse of modern times. Sita is one such rare intellectual encounter where not only she is born without a womb (अयोनिज), she is a female avatar, and she is also वैदेही whose existence can be reached beyond her body. She is Maithili, the linguistic tradition of the region thus embodying the supreme form of human expression and a high spiritual possibility beyond the physical, material trappings.

While locating the forms of human expressions, if we look at the focal concerns, aesthetic preoccupations have almost always held prime slot in eastern imagination. A highly influential Rasa theory that emphasized that pleasure is, of course, a desirable outcome of artistic performance, but it should not be understood and interpreted as the primary purpose. The main objective actually is to transport the audience to a higher realm; a transcendental space where one can effortlessly undergo a certain kind of blissful experience about the essence of one’s own being. A place where one can also reconcile with consciousness that enables one to make genuine reflections on the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life. An aesthetic experience was like a spiritual awakening when an individual is enabled to transcend the limitations of one’s own self. It becomes possible for him by virtue of a certain kind of contemplation generating as it does the sense of pure bliss. Looking at the Rasa theory as the foundation of art and literature, Abhinava Gupta firmly focused on the significance of harmony for the formulation of an aesthetic expression. Maithili community’s synchronization and harmony of man-nature-culture has culminated in its exceptional spiritual expression through its art, Mithila painting which evolved, practised and preserved by its women, by Sitas of the land, is a site of such harmony. Hence Vaidehi would be an attempt to capture this essence of Sita at two levels: one a dedicated themed exhibition, another a publication of scholarly articles and paintings by senior most artists from the region as well as fresh blood practicing this art form.

Why we are doing Sita? Sita is often seen as the uniting force, a deep spiritual tradition. It appears all the conflicting traits and attributes prefer to come together in an unusually harmonious manner on the issue of Sita. Also, Sita is an extremely sensitive but movingly powerful character always respected the sanctity of human love, dharma and marital relationship but never lost an opportunity to question. This event will mark the exploration and celebration of Sita, the daughter of Mithila on her own land.

Aim of the exhibition:
The exhibition aims to celebrate Mata Sita on her own land with the very regional and traditional medium of expression i.e Mithila painting.


  • To express the various forms of Mata Sita not only through exhibition but online means like social media platforms.
  • To facilitate artists economically and bring them on the international platform who are hard-hit by the pandemic.
  • To promote young artists in their learning by bringing artists from all age group under one panorama.
  • To bring the regional method of doing Mithila painting on wall into an international standard of canvas painting.
  • To promote the revival of Mithila painting among artists who have long forgotten their art and artists from different art forms.

About the exhibition:

The exhibition was launched online via the social media handles of Madhubani Literature Festival and Madhubani Art Centre. The primary purpose of the exhibition was to be inclusive in the sense that it aimed at incorporating artists from diverse background.

Following are the characteristics of “Vaidehi” that make it inclusive:

  • Open to all age groups.
  • Open to national and international participants.
  • It was not mandatory for the participants to have done any course on Mithila painting.
  • No submission fee was required for submitting the artworks.

The rule book for submission of artworks:

  • Artworks should be made on (3×3) canvas.
  • The participants were supposed to send their artworks
  • Each Sita has to be different from the other.
    The issue of copyright and IPR was also emphasized upon.

Panel of judges:

  • Padmashree Baua Devi, renowned senior mithila painting artist .
  • Prof. Seems Bawa, Professor and Head of Department, Department of History, Faculty of Social Science, University of Delhi.
  • Tokio Hasegawa, Art connoisseur, Director Mithila Museum, Japan.
  • Prof. Frank J. Korom, Professor, Religion and Anthropology, Boston University.
  • Tulika Kedia, Founder, Must Art Gallery, Managing Director, Singinawa Jungle Lodge.

Achievements of ‘Vaidehi’:

  • Vaidehi played a key role in the revival of Mithila painting among the age group of artists who had long forgotten their art .
  • Vaidehi was able to attract and encourage artists from different folk cultures who were completely new to the grammar of Mithila painting, but took interest in trying their hand and expressing themselves through Sita.
  • Mithila painting is famous as an art done over walls, but Vaidehi acted as a platform providing new medium to the artists i.e canvas, which was both a challenge and an accomplishment. New material was promoted with the aim to upgrade the expression of art and bring it in a universal space.

Timeline of the exhibition:

  • March: Announcement of exhibition.
  • May: Date Extension of Submission.
  • Mid-August: Last date of submission of entries.
  • August: Briefing on further process of exhibition via live sessions.
  • September: Sending the artworks to panel of judges.
  • October: Declaration of result by the panel of judges.
  • November: Shipment process of the painted canvas by selected participants to organising team of ‘Vaidehi’.
  • December: Exhibition to be held in Madhubani Literature Festival at Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University, Darbhanga, Bihar.

Key highlights:

  • Inclusive Exhibition consisting of all age groups.
  • Brought the regional talent on international space.
  • Mass participation: National and International participants are part of Vaidehi.
  • Completely free platform for artists.
  • Selected artworks to be displayed in Darbhanga and in Delhi.

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