Gondi people pray to various Gods & spirits, and the depiction of their environment in the form of forests, trees, animals, birds is prominent in the paintings.
Gond paintings were traditionally done on mud wall houses and their form relied on shared symbols within a local community context. Recently, the Gondi artists have started painting on canvas or paper.
Late Jangarh Singh Shyam popularised this art form internationally. Famous books include “The London Jungle Book” by renowned Gond artist Bhajju Shyam and “One, Two, Three” by Durga Bai.
Gond Tribal Painting is done by Gondi people who live in parts of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh & Orissa.
However, majority of the artists who paint in this style come from a village called Patangarh in the Mandla District of Madhya Pradesh.
Process, Talent & Skills needed
Gond paintings use a technique of creating textures by pattern. The artist starts with an outline, which is then filled with block colours. This is left to dry, then elaborate patterning is painted on top, which gives the designs their distinct three-dimensional quality. The artist has to be very precise and the patterning process is very time consuming.
The artists reflect their perception of life through these freehand paintings. For wall paintings, mud plaster base is used over which linear patterns are etched with the fingers.
Materials used, durability
In Gond tribes, the ground and walls may be used as canvas while limestone and charcoal are used as mediums to make various decorative paintings for their houses. These paintings are not restricted to paper and do not entirely depend on synthetic colors.
Gond paintings have numerous themes including folk stories, nature, religion etc. The paintings could be flamboyant and colorful or could be simple and sophisticated in black and white. Though the style is similar, each painting has individuality in expression and interpretation.
Gond paintings bear a remarkable likeness to Australian aboriginal art. In both these artforms, the brush moves as dots or lines as fillers.
The Gond style of painting would not look out of place in a modern art gallery. It is hard to imagine how these psychedelic images are inspired in community that has had no exposure to the development of modern art.