A Trail of Paint
Anjali Raghbeer
Soumya Menon
age group: 
7+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Jamini Roy folk art contemporary art artists
picture book


A Trail of Paint introduces kids to the paintings by Jamini Roy, the famous artist from West Bengal best known for combining traditional Indian and Western art styles create unique, complex works. Born on April 11, 1887 in Beliatore, India, he went on to study under Abanindranath Tagore in Kolkata at age 16.

In this fictionalised story focussing on his art, the trail starts when Mashi drags Biswajeet away from his favourite television show.  Biswajeet unwillingly arrives at an art show where the organisers claim that every work is, “...vintage Roy, a hundred per cent.”  There he meets Dadu (Jamini Roy himself), who reveals that many exhibits were actually fakes.  The duo embark on an adventure to track down the culprit.  Children will thoroughly enjoy unravelling the mystery and will be thrilled as they grasp the many clues along the trail.

Along the way, Dadu helps Biswajeet understand the value of developing one's own style of painting.  And to produce works of art that is rooted in one's own culture.  He teaches Biswajeet to recognise an original work of art and how to distinguish it from a fake.  A lesson kids may carry with them, if and when, at a later date in life they get inspired to become art collectors themselves.

Biswajeet learns that, "True art ...is creating, not copying,”   The serious issue of plagiarism has been humourosly and yet effectively approached.

Jamini Roy’s paintings against the white background in the book symbolise and highlight the purity of the originality of his art.  This book is a visual delight and fun to read along with kids.  A treat for lovers of contemporary Indian art.

The bibliography at the end of the book gives a glimpse into the times and work of Jamini Roy and is sure to encourage the reader to want to learn more about this great artist.

A must in the school library and for your personal collection too!

Reviewed by Ruhi Gurjar