As the constantly ticking clock progressed towards India’s 70th Republic Day, people across the country eagerly awaited to know the names that were enlisted for the Padma Shri awards 2019, the fourth highest civilian awards of the country. Still, nobody suspected this year’s awards to be glorious for vitiligo representation.
Godavari Dutta, often referred to as the Grand Old Woman of Madhubani art, was among the Padma Shri awards recipients this year. The 87 years old artist who has universal vitiligo was recognized for taking Madhubani art (also known as Mithila art) to unattainable heights.
Coming from a small village of Darbhanga (Bihar), Godavari has seen a lot of struggle throughout her life. But she tackled the adversary gracefully with her hard work and left no stone unturned to raise the Bihari pride. The artist was diagnosed with vitiligo during her adulthood. At the time when vitiligo erupted, she had large white patches all over her face. With time, the non-segmental vitiligo converted into universal vitiligo. Godavari was deserted by her husband (who left her to go to Nepal to get married to someone else), but she held forth because of her artistic abilities. The Madhubani art became her tool of empowerment.
At this age, Godavari is so active that you will find it hard to believe that she is 87 years old. She has been invited to Germany and Japan several times where her paintings are on display in the museum. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also seen my painting at Bihar Museum. I hope Government keeps motivating artists by providing Padma Awards”, the artists said in a media interaction post receiving the honor.
Godavari has already been honored by the prestigious National award in 1980. She was conferred by the title of Shilp Guru for her astonishing works in Madhubani painting by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, in 2006.
Team ‘Unite For Vitiligo’ congratulates Godavari Dutta for this latest feather in her cap. May she continue inspiring youngsters with her ability to convert anguish into art.