Leaf painting is one of the beautiful art forms which originated in Kerala, India. In Ancient times leaves were one of the clothing substantial which in later decades became the first writing material to be used before paper was invented. Leaf is been the essential raw material for human beings from the ancient time till now. Leaves are the source for many aspects of life like food, medicine, fiber, pest controlling, bio-degradable plates, and many more. Palm leaves were one of a kind which were used to write inscriptions and to do miniature paintings in olden days. The artists from Kerala, India implemented in using peepal leaves and banyan leaves to do the paintings.
Peepal tree is a divine tree, it is said that Buddha attained enlightenment while meditating under this tree. Hence it is even known as the Bodhi tree. The leaves of the peepal tree is heart shaped and have a long narrowing tip at the end. Peepal leaf’s scientific name is Ficus religiosa. The leaf itself gives a pleasant view and it develops a beautiful unique textured canvas for the artists to express their art with the brush. Painting on the leaves are very delicate work of art which requires a lot of patience and the best creativity which depicts a good craftsmanship and excellence.
Peepal leaf painting has been treasured in India’s heritage from ages. This art is been practiced in various places in which Bal Swamy from Ghanpur near Warangal, Telangana is one amongst them. The artisan from his childhood days used to practice art and was very keen about arts and crafts. He got influenced from Father Colombo who resided in RCM church, Warangal who practiced leaf painting. Bal Swamy took up this form of art as his hobby when he was in class nine, which gave him joy and happiness. He joined Father Colombo trustee. Father Colombo was helping him in improving the art and in getting the foreign commercial orders which helped him financially. Since there were many Christians residing in that region the common leaf painting cards theme was on Christmas and Easter. The other themes were on mother and child, scenery and many more.