The House That Sonabai Built


Author: Vishakha Chanchani
Photographs by Stephen Huyler

9789350466278 | PB | pp. 32 | 2014 | Tulika Publishers

This tells the story of Sonabai from rural Madhya Pradesh who made wonderful art with vibrant colour from clay.

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This sensitive telling of Sonabai’s story follows her transformative artistic journey from the tactile experience of her first creations in clay, innovative experiments with colours and light, and unfettered play with pattern and design to being embraced by the art world. Rich photographs augment the telling, for a fascinating introduction to the life, work and milieu of this quitely strong, self-taught artist. Together, they offer a detailed look at art and the organic growth of her distinctive creative vision. In the process, they also evoke a compelling profile in courage, and the larger story of how Sonabai’s art, like all great art, transcends from the personal to the universal.

This book won the Outstanding International Book 2016 from the United States Board on Books for Young People.

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Vishakha Chanchani
Photography: Stephen Huyler




Tulika Publishers





Year of Publication:






Country of Origin:


About the Author

The author has written and illustrated several books for children, and has been an art educator in Bengaluru for over 25 years.

As an art student, she was never convinced about working with clay. But many years later, she found herself working alongside potters and women artisans in a handicrafts unit – living, building with and firing clay.

The photographer is also a well known cultural anthropologist, art historian and author. A regular visitor to India since 1971, he has been documenting folk arts and crafts with specific focus on women’s art and identity in India.


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