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Dillon students learn Mithila painting techniques

Students became artists at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School recently when renowned Indian folk artist Rani Jha stopped by for a demonstration.

Indian folk artist Rani Jha gives Nicholas Vaverchek some pointers as he creates his first-ever Mithila artwork.
Indian folk artist Rani Jha gives Nicholas Vaverchek some pointers as he creates his first-ever Mithila artwork.

Jha, who was visiting America for the first time, discussed the history of Mithila painting.

She told students that the artwork was once created by women on the walls of their houses.

Today it is an art form that has been reimagined as a way to raise awareness about contemporary social issues, she said.

For the sixth graders in Beth Pritchard’s art class at EJD, the visiting artist provided much more than an educational discussion about Mithila painting, as students created their own Mithila work under Jha’s tutelage.

Natalie King watches as Mithila artist Rani Jha shows students tricks of the trade during a recent visit to Dillon Middle School art classes.
Natalie King watches as Mithila artist Rani Jha shows students tricks of the trade during a recent visit to Dillon Middle School art classes.

“Children learn fast, they’re like a blank sheet of paper,” Jha said, noting that the student artwork was excellent.

Jha’s visit was part of an Oswego County BOCES Arts in Education initiative.

It’s a service that coordinates a wide variety of artists, authors, and character education speakers who can introduce students to new cultures, creativity, and ideas to help them broaden their perspective on the world.