Gond Painting: Incredible Art of India

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The tagline perfectly suits “The Heart of Incredible India” as Madhya Pradesh is full of exuberance from all the four corners. From the young blood view to the ancient architecture, tribal communities festivals to concerts this state gives you a wide variety of taste of India summed within its geographical horizon.

This state occupies the land of “The Gonds”, and brings the vintage beauty of Gond art form known as GOND PAINTING. Incredible India is not just a word it is epitome of culture and values and with incredible art. How rich heritage where all-embracing our states and different kinds of people that make our India more distinct. India’s tribes are known for their rich artistic heritage, and foremost amongst them are “The Gonds”.

Here we come with Incredible art as known as Gond Painting to showcase you the phenomenal art of India. Gond Painting is practised by one of the largest tribe of India known as “Gond” tribe. They belongs from the heart of India that is Madhya Pradesh. Their presence is also on the edges of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Odisha but they majorly dominate the central part.

Photorealism is the only concept which is driven by this beautiful incredible art form, here the artist sketching his imagination on the canvas brings the life to the painting. After four decades later this astonishing art exhibited itself on the galleries of worldwide. In this Gond Art, form artist exhibits their perception of life and close connection with his natural vicinity. People beliefs that their only source of inspiration is our “Mother Nature” but it is not true as their vision is not so bounded. They turn to the legends of India, religious saga, spiritual myths, daily lifestyle and dreams to express artwork on the painting.

The Emergence of Gond Art

The Gonds community have a much more varied social profile. And significant section of this community still lives a close-to-nature life involving hunting-gathering, some forms of agriculture and pastoral activity. According to the Gond tribe people beliefs that seeing a good image will bring goodluck to them so they started adorning walls and grounds of their home. Earlier, the incredible Art form was restricted to decorating their walls and floors by using natural colors and called as Digna or Bhittichitra (Bhitti – Wall; Chitra – Picture).

This is not just furbishing, but also the mode of display their expressions of devotion and love through the freehand painting. As it was the artistic way for them to record their history. In this incredible art Gond Painting almost every aspect of tribe is depicted. They get motivated from their day to day life like the figure representing Dharti Maa, seed sown in the fields, flora, fauna, God and Goddesses, folk- tales and myths. The Gond Painting has become their visual recital way where they portray art work and brings in front of people. Their paintings are also based on the festivals like Deepawali, Ashtami, Nag Panchami, Karwa-Chauth and many more. As they have grown up with this environment itself into the woods so the hue has been running through their veins very long time.

For every occasion they used to paint or do Bhittichitra on the ground or the wall. From a lion to deer, fish to the bird, an elephant to the ant, and divine to manly lives Gond painter exhibits the drawing with distinguished pattern and detailed designs. The key element for the Gond Artisan is the pattern which he is using as it becomes his/her own individual expression of art. If the airplane is drawn in the painting it might contain the pattern of seeds, lowers, leaves. Gond Paintings depict almost every aspect of the tribe’s lives.

Gond Painting | Incredible Art | Gond Pradhan | The Gonds | Gond Art
“Image: Looking at a good picture begets good luck “

Gond Pradhan Community

As we know Gond Tribe is one of the largest communities found in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in Central India. A colony of artists from this community leads the way through extant gond art form that represents their own unique identity of incredible art. Most pre-eminent are the Gond Pradhans who are acclaimed for their artistic skills, be it music or painting. A leader in this community has the vision to closely link wall art form to their daily lives and spiritual equation with nature. The Gond Pradhans are the Gonds who are storytellers and the priests; Gond Pradhans carry the pivotal task of carrying the rich culture, and history of Gond Kings and keeping rituals alive through the music. Gond Pradhans are musicians and storytellers as well.

Gond Painting | Incredible Art | Gond Pradhan | The Gonds | Gond Art
Image : Rendition of Maa Durga in Gond Style

The Art with Colors

It all started with the charcoal by the artist to draw the pattern and outline of the painting but nowadays it has been replaced by the paintbrush. Ground and wall was there canvas while limestone and charcoal were the medium to make various designs for their houses. During those days “charcoal and Limestone” were easily available naturally so it became the way to express the art. After drawing the pattern color is filled into it and the colors’ which they use for this were usually found in nature or made by naturally. To get the green color – abstract from leaves is used, marigold flowers are rich in giving orange color, sunflower enriches the vibrant yellow color, and roses were there to give charismatic pink shade. From the cow dung the brown color is made, Black mud never fails to give black color and same in the case with white mud.

The artist has to be very precise because the process to make is very time consuming. But nowadays this exceptional art work is not restricted to walls and grounds; they do storytelling on paper or canvas by using acrylic and synthetic colors’. The style is similar but each painting speaks its own word of wisdom with unique expression and interpretation.

‘L’elephant Volant’ Gond Art

The book was launched and was based on the Gond folklore, the Udata Hathi commonly known as Flying Elephant in English version was used by Gods and Goddesses in heaven, to transport them from place to place. One day, when the Lord was resting he told the elephant to take a break. The elephant decided to fly to the earth. Upon reaching the earth, he was delighted to find fields of sugarcane and banana trees. As soon as he started eating the sugarcane the villagers came and tried to scare him off. But the elephant would not move. The villagers then called the Lord and asked him to intervene.

The Lord was displeased with the Elephant and asked him never to go to earth again. A few days later, the Elephant went back to Earth to eat the sugarcane, he had loved the lush forests and the bananas. The villagers were upset, they asked the Lord to help .The Lord was furious and told the villagers to organize a feast and the Elephant was invited to join the revelry too.

After enjoying a hearty meal and the Mahua wine the elephant fell asleep. Whilst he was asleep, the Lord cut off his wings .He gave one to the Banana tree and one to the Peacock. From that day the Peacock has a beautiful Plumage and the Banana tree has large leaves the elephant was relieved of his duties for the Lord and remained on earth ever after to be domesticated by human beings. In this incredibly illustrated book Rajendra Shyam has done domestication of the elephant by humans.

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Image : http://www.gondtribalart.com/book-launch-of-childrens-book-lelephant-volantfrench/

The book – Flying Elephant

The Visionary Artist

A master of light Jangarh Singh Shyam was born in Patangarh and not only created path of Gong Painting but also took it to the highest paramount of success. Even today almost every family has one artist at their home where legendary Jangarh Singh Shyam used to live. Initially the art form started as a traditional painting as it could be seen as his canvas is storytelling medium to the world.

A museum Bharat Bhavan situated in Bhopal was the first platform for the artist endeavor of Gond Art form also a place of pilgrimage for Gond Pradhan artists. At that time Jagdish Swaminathan was man in charge of the art centre Bharat Bhavan and he wants to exhibit extraordinary display of talent and a year later 17-year-old Gond Artist Jangarh Singh Shyam was discovered. The work is of such exceptionally beauty that the viewer Jagdish Swaminathan was highly impressed and persuaded him to move to Bhopal and showcase the Gond Art. Paintings drawn by Jangarh Singh were so beautiful piece of art that the painting reveals imagery and symbolic intent itself.

He created hypnotic paintings bursting with vivid colors and emotions. When the art work of Gond Paintings was exhibited to the Bharat Bhavan Museum he gained worldwide attention. He sold his 1988 Gond Painting ‘Landscape with Spider’ for $31,250 at Sotheby’s New York. In 1989, he got the chance to display his creations at the ‘Magiciens de la Terre’ exhibition in Paris. He was honored internationally as his incredible art work took him to New Delhi, New York, Paris and Tokyo for exhibitions and shows. Jangarh Singh Shyam became a legendary name in the history of Gond painting.

Patterns play the pivotal role for the Gond Painters as it becomes their own signature style of art work reason is every Gond Artist creates unique design and pattern. He has so intricately painted the interiors of the Vidhan Bhavan of Madhya Pradesh and the dome of Bharat Bhavan which is heritage of contemporary Indian Art. Also he was awarded with Shikhar Samman.

The Gond Art comes with the belief that “viewing a good image brings good luck”, that’s why they take their art extremely seriously. However the art work has travelled the path from wall to canvas now, various talented artists has showcased their skill to uplift it on a high scale. The individual signature style is the essence of this tribal art form that they used to decorate the wall and now canvas.

The Gond Painting is the heritage of a country as it preserves the handwork of the artisans. As it is the expression of history and we should support and promote it for the long lasting impression of this Art form.

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