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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.