Tribal Arts Tour of India
Last Year we worked with Indianheritagehut, now known as @deepali_menon on the “ABC of Indian Textiles”. We and you absolutely loved that series. So, we are collaborating again this year to bring you another series. Here is the first installment in the voice of Deepali!
I loved exploring the stories that each alphabet could narrate about the textile history of India. And from thereon A never meant an apple to me. It always brings forward the pictures of luxurious blue and red block printed Ajrakh to my mind.
This year I will be writing on the state wise Tribal / Folk arts of India for @talesonsilk. By the end of the series, hopefully each state of India will mean a little more to the readers than its geography.
Folk arts is a wider term and encompasses all visual arts made by people. These people could be indigeneous tribes. peasants, shepherds or villagers. Its an art practised by common people. Tribal arts, on the other hand, denote the art forms practised by a small group of people or tribes or clans whose way of life reflects a deep rooted connection to the ancient past. There are around 25 million tribal people in India.
Let's start with my home state.
State - Maharashtra
Tribal art - Warli
Situated at - Sahyadri ranges encompassing cities such as Dahanu, Palghar, Jawhar, Talasari, Mokhada.
Material used - red mud walls of huts, white colour formed by rice powder and water and gum, bamboo sticks used as a brush
Unlike other folk arts, warli does not depict religious deities or recreate scenes from mythology. Inspired by nature, it is the vivid expression of their social life. Elements from nature such as the sun, moon, river, animals and birds often feature in this art form. Moreover, human beings are shown engaged in their daily life activities such as sowing, harvesting, hunting, drawing water from wells, grinding or even dancing. The figures and traditional motifs are repetitive, rhythmic and highly symbolic.
The art of decorating home walls was a medium to pass on folklore and culture to the future generations who then were not versed with the written word.
The distinctive feature of warli painting is the simple geometric shapes. Circle depicts sun and moon, triangle shows mountains and trees whereas square stands for manmade structures such as temples, homes etc. Depiction of human beings and animals is the most rustic and still very charming. Circle as a head, two inverted triangles joined at their tips as a body and straight lines for hands and legs.
My favourite scene is the Tarpa Dance where men and women entwine their hands at waist and dance in a circle around a Tarpa player. This scene easily transports me to a Warli village where community living and harmony with the nature is at its best.
Start your own tribal art collection with pieces here