Waterlife by Jha Rambharos, Published by Tara Books (India), 2012. Limited Edition handmade book number 2002/3000. 28 pages. Clothbound.
Rambharos Jha grew up on the banks of the legendary river Ganga, and developed a fascination for water and water life. Born in the culture-rich district of Darbanga in the Mithila region, he moved to Madhubani as a child when his father started work in a government supported art and culture project. Since then he has followed his own creative impulses, developing the tradition in his own distinctive style. This is his first book.
I was inspired to buy this book for our library after reading this wonderful article (complete with gorgeous photos of the prints from the book) at brain pickings.org click here:
I was drawn to the book for it’s inspirational use rather than as an informational text. I can see this this being used as inspiration for the Art component in a PYP unit on Sharing the Planet or How we express ourselves. I work with some wonderful teachers who love teaching art using techniques from many cultures. This book is my gift to them for International Book Giving Day on February 14 2013. I hope they can use it to inspire our students to even greater creative heights and as a provocation for conversation, thinking and inquiry.
“Without a shadow of exaggeration, the most beautiful book I’ve ever laid eyes on.” – Brainpickings.org
“This folk art collection of wood-cut style illustrations is so visually compelling, you may want three copies… one to leaf through at leisure, one to take apart to frame the full-page images, and one to bestow upon someone special.” – SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
“Gloriously attractive, endlessly fascinating book. The illustrations of fish, reptiles, crustaceans and sea birds shine and shimmer; each is as vibrant as it is meticulous.” – Asian Review of Books
Selected as featured title at the TED2012 Bookstore.
Waterlife features Mithila art, a form of folk painting from Bihar in eastern India. The artist Rambharos Jha grew up on the banks of the legendary river Ganga, and developed a fascination for water and water life. In this visually sumptuous book, Jha creates an unusual artist’s journal, adapting the motifs of the Mithila style to express his own vision. He frames his colorful images of octopus, crocodiles, birds and shellfish with a playful text that evokes both childhood memory and folk legend.
Waterlife is silk-screen printed by hand on handmade paper, and hand-numbered to indicate the limited print run.
An interview with the author is available on the Tara Books blog here:
Thank you to my friend Nicola West who obtained this book for me via The Smithsonian and lovingly transported it to New Zealand on a recent trip. Some books have wonderful stories of their own.