Indrakala Nidhi is associated with Janakpur Women's Development Center and her paintings are rooted in traditions which Mithila women have passed down through generation. Indrakala Nidhi like other women from JWDC, under grant from the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust, learnt how to tranfer her wall designs to paper without losing her distinctive styles and developed skills in compostion as well as in use of color and line.
The artist's pleasure in the development of a profession, and in new-found freedom to express themselves through painting, is reflected in the story she tells.
What could I have done? Since the school was far away from my village. I could not go there every day. In total I only went to school for 3 years. But I studied at home because I wanted to know how to write letters. Letters would be the only means of communication with my home after marriage. We did not have paper to writing , so I used the wall of my house. My brother passed SLC(School Leaving Certificate) and tutored me.
When I was 18, my parents arranged my marriage to a Nepali man. I was born in India and I moved to Nepal after my wedding. At the beginning I felt lucky, because my husband's family was rich. But my husband did not have his own income and therefore we depended on his family. When the family's land was divided between all four brothers each share was very little.
When my husband died I did not have the money to take care of my two sons and two daughters. But I had learned painting from my mother. My neighbor told me about JWDC and I showed my paintings and I was selected. Now I have been working in JWDC for 16 years.
My favorite design depicts the Barsait ritual. This ritual has to be performed by brides in the first year of their marriage. All brides of a village go together and worship gods at a bar tree. When I joined JWDC, I could paint a few designs only, but now I am able to paint many designs. At JWDC, I also learned to discuss openly, to go out independently and even to talk to strangers. Since I earn money I can support my family. My children do not want me to go to JWDC anymore. They are worried, I am getting old. But I still to there because I have my friends here.