Rebati Mandal is associated with Janakpur Women's Development Center(JWDC) and her paintings are rooted in traditions which Mithila women have passed down through generation. Rebati Mandal 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.
My father died early and my family has always been poor. This is why my parents could not afford to send me to school. But also the rich people in our village did not want poor children to go to school. May be they were afraid of the competition for jobs after school.
At the age of 12 I was married. According to our culture I went to my husband's house for one day but then returned to my parents house to stay there for another two years. Then we performed a ritual when the wife is carried to her husband's house to stay there. Then life was not easy because I had to follow all my mother-in-law's orders. My husband had no fixed job, so we did not have much money.
One day a foreigner was attracted to my house, because I had decorated it with paintings. At that time I was not at home. When I came back, my children told me about that visit and how I could go to apply for a job at JWDC. There I received paper, paint and a pencil for test painting. I had not seent hese things before in all my life. That was eleven years ago.
Other neighbors already worked there, so society accepted that I take up this work. Now I also ride a bicycle. My children taught me how o do it. At the beginning I was scared, but now I mange quite well.
I learned painting at the age of ten from my mother. She used to paint houses for festivals and marriages. I like to paint the Jhijiya dance. It is a dance that is performed during Dashain. The dancers have to carry five clay pots on their head to worship the goddesses Maharani and Bhagawati.
From the money I earn at JWDC I can buy rice. I have also met new friends here. With my friends I can talk about all the new things I have learned. My friends in my village do not know so much about the world I know.
Till date, her work has been exhibited in the USA, UK , the federal republic of Germany, Australia and Belgium.