Tribal Beauty - Art Exhibition at Muse Art Gallery, Hyderabad
Mythologies are also a very popular subject for depiction and every artist expresses his own interpretation, at times bordering on the surreal. They love nothing better than to narrate the stories behind their paintings. You may see an elephant taking shelter beneath a tree in a storm and two peacocks perched on branches "discussing" the possibility of Lord Ganesha himself standing below ! There is no end to the parables and stories and the paintings are full of snakes, lizards, birds and wild animals juxtaposed with people dancing with abandon, celebrating, harvesting. Joie de vivre, it would appear, has triumphed over the hardship and tribulations of routine existence.
Gond artist Sambhu Dayal Shyam was paintings his classroom walls even as his classmates were grappling with alphabet. Encouraged by his teacher, he went on to decorate floors and wedding arenas for Rs. 15/ a day. Thirty years later, some of his paintings can still be seen on the doors and walls of his village!
Sambhu Dayal Shyam moved to make his base in Bhopal. With the demand for his paintings growing all the times he now even paints on T shirts and saris. While his location may have changed, he still uses the natural colors. He has to going back to his village regularly for supplies. He feels he works best with the black, red, yellow and orange colored mud from his district.
Shyam has mastered the line and dot form to imaginatively interpret the legion of myths the Gonds are brought up on.
For authentic tribal paintings always shop at Trifed's Tribes India outlets.
Tribal painting has its genesis in home decor. It is seen as a means to ward off the evil spirit. The Gonds smeared mud paste on the floors, doors and walls of their home and then painted motifs on them with a brush fashioned out of bamboo, using colors made lion' mud of different hues found in their environment.
The Pardhans, a small sub group of the Gond tribal community in the Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh have come to be known for their visual creativity. In 1982 some of the Pardhan Gond painters like Jangarh Singh Shyarn and Narmada Prasad Gond started painting on paper. To begin with the subjects of their paintings were confined to the images of their god and goddesses, myths and folktales, birds and animals Hey developed a most tiniritie style of painting usincj bright colors and simple forms, decorated with dots and lines. Subsequently this style has come to be popularly known as Gond painting.
Their paintings are always done free hand. Putting brush straight to canvas or paper, they seldom need an (mane or rough sketch. Essentially two dimensional, these paintings are characterized by Olen dots and lines which collectively make up a total graphic. The bodies are seldom in a single color, but are laid out in beautifully demarcated shades and clean geometrical lines.
Today approximately fifteen recognized, Gond painters, have moved from decorating walls and floors to painting on paper and canvas, maintaining their original forms and lines.
Superstitious as they are, festivals and rituals are major themes for Gond artists. I heir is a culture that is still steeped in ritualistic animal sacrifices and belief in blood thirsty devtas and devis (gods and goddesses) who, unless they are appeased on festive occasions, will take human life. Thus often in the midst of a wedding scene, one can see in the foreground a pig or a goat being readied for a ceremonial end.