The beginning years of the decade of the 1980s witnessed the setting up of the Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal. It's aim was two fold: to project contemporary art from India, and to include, for the first time, the arts of folk and tribal people within this trajectory. While J Swaminathan steered this project, there were several other luminaries involved, including Ashok Vajpayee, BV Karanth, the then Chief Minister of the state of Madhya Pradesh- Arjun SIngh and others.
The task of collecting contemporary 'folk' and 'adivasi ' art was onerous. The exercise required the involvement of young invested individuals who were trained in documentation and field research. Students from art colleges from Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur were enlisted and given training in Bhopal. Teams were created, and documentation and survey sheets prepared and handed out.
Mushtak Khan led a team based in Raigarh and Sarguja. Also present in this team were Vijay Chawla, Anil Kumar, Chhaya Belapurkar, and Jyoti Bhatt. They set off from Raigarh on 3rd December 1983. The trip was a successful one. Its chief success lay in finding the clay work of Sona Bai Rajwar and the paintings of the Pahadi Korba adivasis.
Mushtak Khan also documented the findings of these field trips in his diary. These notes reflect both the documentation methodologies that were being set in place by the Bharat Bhavan and his own observations.
This content has been created as part of a project commissioned by the Directorate of Culture and Archaeology, Government of Chhattisgarh to document the cultural and natural heritage of the state of Chhattisgarh.