Artist Profiles


Manisha Mishra


South and Central Asia





Medium of Work:

Madhubani/Mithila painting on paper, canvas and fabric

Year(s) Attended:

Santa Fe: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018


Manisha Mishra learned to paint ritual designs on the floors and walls of her home from her mother and grandmother. Her festive paintings depict traditional motifs, personal experiences, and mythological features, but they also provide insight into her experiences of the natural world and contemporary urban life.

Traditionally, Madhubani paintings adorn the surfaces of mud houses during ceremonial and auspicious occasions. Painting on paper and canvas is a relatively recent development in Madhubani art, allowing it to reach a global audience. Even in its new life on paper and canvas, the graphic, two-dimensional quality of Madhubani drawing still remains.

Madhubani painting originated in the Brahman, Dusadh and Kayastha communities in the Mithila region of India. Traditional Madhubani work depicts both daily life, traditional stories, and deities from ancient epics. Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and sacred plants are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings.

Generally, no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and geometric designs. Traditionally, painting was one of the skills that was passed down from generation to generation in the families of the Mithila region, mainly by women; the artform continues to thrive thanks to this longstanding history.

In addition to her vibrant art practice, Manisha is passionate about education, and plans to start a school to teach the techniques and stories of the art form to young girls.