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My name is Suhas Tavkar and I was born in 1942 and raised in Mumbai (Bombay), India, and I was exposed to the art of NakhaChitra - fingernail embossing on paper as a child but started doing NakhaChitra at the age of four. Last 34 years I am living in Queens, New York and even today for last 65 years I am creating this NakhaChitra art. "NakhaChitra" (fingernail sculpted art) is one of the world's rarest, ancient, unique and unknown art form (Nakha means fingernail, Chitra means art and Nakhachitrakar means artist in Sanskrit language of the Hindus) humans ever created at the beginning of the human race. Not a single art history book or museum has given any reference to this original art form which is created by humans with their own fingernails (God-given fingernails as a basic tool to write and draw). I have learned this unusual and rare fingernail relief art on paper from my late architect father Anant Tavkar who in turn, learned it from his father and mother as a child (even today I can trace my family names from 1562, means NakhaChitra art has been practiced by my family members even before that time for generations). Recently I have created some largest size (7.5”X20”) of NakhaChitra relief pieces on 2ply Strathmore kid paper that I think no one has ever created in the world. There are billions of people in this world and there are millions of artist creating art using the same art materials, mediums, tools and very similar styles around the world for centuries. It takes back at least to the 5th century AD, by which time Kalidasa-the great play writer and poet of the Sanskrit language had mentioned that love letter written by Shakuntala on a lotus leaf with her fingernail in his play “The Recognition of Shakuntala”. This reference shows that the people from India were using Nakha (fingernails) regularly for writing on leaves. According to me “NakhaChitrakala”-fingernail sculpted art form is originated in ancient India. My real wish is to show people, especially in the art world, that there is such a thing as “NakhaChitra” - fingernail sculpted art is still here and art media should give more exposure to it.
With these natural tools that are literally at one’s own fingertips I believe,
“Every living creature on planet earth is an artist and also a wonderful piece of art”.
I invited all of you to visit my website and write your comments.
“Quality is never an Accident. It is Always the Result of Intelligent Efforts. There must be a will to produce a Superior thing”
- by John Ruskin.
By Suhas Tavkar - Nakhachitrakar