Gond Art- Painting that embeds nature as their soul
Gond Art is an old traditional art made by Gond Tribes. Although the art is very old yet it has evolved as more contemporary art with new styles and emerging artists.
Gond tribes are the largest tribes of India mainly found in states of the Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and, Maharashtra. Although Modern Gond Art is concentrated in central India specially the Dindori region.
Gond name comes from the word ‘Kond’, which means green mountains in the Dravidian idiom.
Gond tribes are very closely connected to nature and for centuries lived in deep forests. They have their unique traditions and culture which is still can be found in their native villages. This association with nature, culture and rituals can be seen in all their paintings. It seems that the paintings have their soul in nature, animals, birds, forest and water bodies.
History and Origin of Gond Art
Gond art history is as old as Gond people i.e is more than 1400 years. Gond People believe seeing a beautiful image is auspicious and brings good luck. For a long time they have been painting their mud houses and walls with beautiful paintings of their rituals, motifs, and surroundings. If you still want to see these paintings you can visit Patangarh village in Dindori district where all houses are having beautiful wall paintings.
Initially, they use to paint using natural colours; yellow colour from chui mitti (local sand), deep red from the tree, black colour from charcoal and green was made from cow dung. Currently all artist uses acrylic colours for painting. In Gond community Pradhan are the one who are expert in wall painting, interestingly they are very good in dancing and singing to
Evolution of Gond Art with the rise of Jangarh Singh Shyam
In the early 1980’s Bharat Bhawan was established in Bhopal by the central government to promote various art forms. J Swaminathan who was leading this organisation looked for various tribal art forms. In rural Dindori they found beautiful wall art of young 17-year-old Jangarh Shyam.
Jangarh Shyam and other artists were invited to Bhopal to try modern mediums of art.
Sambhav Singh Shyam, son of Anand Singh Shyam who was among the first to visit Bharat Bhawan recalls and speaks
‘Jangarh Shyam and my father were provided with brown book covers to showcase their art as the canvas were too expensive.”
Jangarh Shyam adapted well with canvas, brushes and acrylic paints. His exceptional skills and beautiful use of bright colours made him highly popular and gave new heights to gond art.
With the rising popularity of Jangarh Shyam many more artist from his village have taken gond art as full-time job
Gond Paintings themes, motifs, and subjects
Gond tribes are highly interlinked with nature and this appears in their paintings too. These are the few themes and subjects which are commonly found in Gond paintings–
1. Gond artists love to draw animals specifically which can be found in forests of central India such as Deer, birds, Peacocks, Mythical beasts, lions. Fishes, turtles, snakes, cows, elephants, and many more.
2. Mahua tree is considered holy in the Gond community and it is called “Tree of Life”. Mahua trees, fruits, seeds, and leaves are used for many purposes by this tribal community. Mahua appears in a lot of paintings of Gond. You can find paintings of women collecting Mahua fruits or praying very widely.
3. With time Gond art is evolving and you can find modern painting showcasing airplanes, bicycles, cars, technology, etc.
4. A lot of mythological stories are there in the Gond community. Myths, legends, rituals, festivals, and other aspects of daily life can be seen in Paintings
5. Hindu gods such as Lord Shiva also known as Bada Dev, Lord Krishna, Lord Ganesha, etc.
6. Local deities like Phulvari Devi (Goddess Kali), Jalharin Devi (River Goddess), Marahi Devi, etc.
7. Folktales- Folktales are the best part of gond painting, folk tales add a story to the paintings which makes them unique.
Gond Painting Signature Patterns & Styles
A pattern is a decorative design that is repeated several times to fill an image.
Each Gond artist uses his distinctive pattern and style to fill the images. These distinctive patterns are called signature patterns.
Style signature of Gond Artist:
Every gond artist have a unique style signature they use in their paintings, these style signature are used in collage to make a complete picture such as
- Fine Lines
- Curved Lines
- Fish Scales
- Drops of Water
- Seed Shapes
- Geometrical Shapes, etc.