Manjula Thakur is associated with Janakpur Women's Development Center(JWDC) and her paintings are rooted in traditions which Mithila women have passed down through generation. Manjula Thakur like other women from JWDC, under grant from the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust, learnt how to tranfer her wall designs to paper without losing her distinctive styles and developed skills in compostion as well as in use of color and line.
The artist's pleasure in the development of a profession, and in new-found freedom to express themselves through painting, is reflected in the story she tells.
At 12, what did I know? My grandfather had invited a visitor to come meet me, and my mother combed my hair and coached me to give the guest water to wash his feet. The guest was pleased with me, and so my marriage to a boy my age in a distant village was fixed.
After my third son I myself decided to have a family planning operation. It was painful, and I didn't want the 100 rupees the doctor gave me. At that time I didn't know what I would do to educate my sons so I bought 15 hens and began selling the eggs. Then everyone forgave me for having the operation because I was so industrious. Still, we didn't have rice, so when a foreigner appeared in our village asking if people could paint, I made some samples even though I was too shy to speak to her. I had learned painting from my mother who would paint gods on the pavilion we Brahmin's build for boy's haircutting ceremonies. Now I am the manager for the painting section. I am moving ahead. For instance, I know how to talk on the phone. Once I spoke to my husband's elder brother, and people were at first shocked since this is something we can not do. People may criticize me, but I know that if people don't understand my life today they will understand tomorrow.
Till date, her work has been exhibited in the USA, UK , the federal republic of Germany, Australia and Belgium.