In frames: masterstrokes of a village lad

Twenty-three year old Mandar resident, Jageshwar Mahto’s parents dreamt of him becoming an engineer. But this tribal boy from Jhinjari village in Mandar block of state capital Ranchi left engineering studies midway after first year and returned to his hamlet to pick brush and paint and pursue his childhood dream of becoming an artist. On Saturday, he set up his maiden exhibition at Audrey House to showcase his in-born skills to public hoping to make it big one day. The exhibition will be on till December 16.

“Painting has always been my true calling but I realized it only in 2017 when I finally decided to pursue my passion. Since then, I have been working on several mediums. Here, I have put up 200 paintings done by me since 2017 which comprise portraits, landscapes, depiction of tribal way of life among others,” he said. Changing social melieu, law and order, social ills such as trafficking, witch-hunting among others also find resonance in his works. “Work of an artist is only a reflection of the society,” he said. All his paintings are named under the brand name—Arjun art. “Arjun is my father’s name. He is a farmer and has always respected my choice of career,” said Mahto, who is younger of two siblings.

A giant painting depicting various social ills in the society. TNF picture
,Potraits of PM Narendra Modi, chief minister Hemant Soren (right) and former CMs–Raghubar Das (left) and JMM supremo Shibu Soren (second from right)

The artist maintained that he has invested close to Rs 5 lakh on his own for making paintings, framing them in different shapes and sizes to make them exhibition ready. So how did he manage funds? “I also work as a wall and billboard painter for different agencies. The earnings from it are pumped into pursuing my passion,” he said, appealing government to set up dedicated art schools and other facilities to provide proper platform for those who dream of making big in the field of arts and performing arts. “In Jharkhand, patronization of arts is still not there at many levels,” he said, thanking Mandar MLA Bandhu Tirkey who spotted him during a fair in the village doing live art and encouraged him to set up exhibition at Audrey House.

View of paintings at exhibition. TNC picture