Painting the walls and floors of village houses for seasonal
festivals and marriages is a longstanding tradition in Shanti Devi's native village
of Madhubani in the state of Bihar.
Following a prolonged drought during the 1960s, the All-India Board introduced
painting on handmade paper as a way of creating new sources of income for people
in drought-stricken areas. Since that time, access to paper and a market for their
works both in India and abroad has given Bihari women the chance to innovate and
refine their individual craft. Shanti Devi's exuberant work epitomizes the vibrant
Bihari style, which uses boldly-coloured designs to illustrate different
mythological stories and divinities.