Did you know that a small village named Inakadate in Japan makes art out of paddy growing in large fields? The practice, which is called Tanbo art, was started in 1993 by farmers in the village who decided to beautify their fields with designs of iconic people, places, and anime characters.
Soon, this started attracting more tourists and the art form spread to 100 other countries, including Korea and Taiwan. Today, Inakadate attracts more than 2,00,000 visitors every year. However, this art form took a while to catch up in India, a paddy-intensive agrarian country.
It was in 2016 that Shrikant Ingalhaikar (67), a Pune-based engineer turned farmer, introduced the art to his paddy field. He single-handedly created four designs including one of Lord Ganesha across his 120 x 80 feet paddy patch.
Once images of his work went viral on social media, other paddy cultivators across the country began doing the same.
How is it done?
Using the field as a canvas, different colours and varieties of paddy are grown to make an elaborate design.
First, a blueprint of the design is drawn on paper or using 3D computer software. Then, it is transferred onto the field with the help of mesh wires placed in vertical and horizontal directions.
By taking an aerial view, the design is modified and markings are made to finalise what colour of the crop will grow where.
Shrikant, who made the design all by himself, said that this feat was possible because he was a self-professed amateur botanist and a part-time graphic designer.
“To execute it successfully, it is also imperative to have a distinctive understanding of the growth cycle and irrigation needs of each variety of paddy. To add a different colour to the field, I planted Nazar Bath, a black variant of paddy, ” he said, in an interview with The Better India.
He adds that this variety is native to hilly regions in the country and is grown to cast away the evil eye, rather than for consumption.
Now, the art form has caught on among other farmers across the country who shared videos of their own beautiful designs on social media.