Saura painting is a style of wall mural painting associated with the Saura tribe of Odisha, India. These paintings also called ikons, hold religious significance for the tribe, usually as a dedication to their main deity Idital (also edital). Recurring motifs in these paintings are the Tree of Life, animals like horses, elephants, elements of nature like the sun and moon and the people of the tribe.
Given the religious significance of these paintings for the tribe, these are worshiped during religious and special cultural occasions such as harvest, childbirth, marriage or even the construction of a new house. Within a new dwelling, these paintings are created in a dark corner inside the home, and the process of creating them is accompanied by the recital of prayers.
Saura paintings employ a fish-net approach, where the border is created first, and then the motifs close inwards. This makes them different from Warli paintings of Maharashtra to which Saura paintings are often compared. Though both of these employ stick figures, while Warli paintings use triangles to depict the human body, the figures are not as sharply delineated in Saura paintings.
In the alternating set of rows, differing moods of dancing and warring people are portrayed. Seated on horses or elephants, men go on wars to protect the natural rhythm of life back home. At the base of the painting, we see men around a tree, signifying the close connection between man and nature. These paintings signify celebrations, festivals, and religious ceremonies. it also signifies the interconnection of nature and the people of the tribe.
The Sauras today are a languishing tribe, suffering from malnutrition, among other ills. And yet their vivid paintings are a reminder to not let this tribe and their lives be lost in oblivion.
(originally these paintings are drawn on walls, I have used hard rough paper and gave muddy effect using tea bags and coffee. Also, the colors are natural.)