New Delhi | Standing testimony to the rich and varied art forms that India is home to, an exhibition here is showcasing different forms of folk and tribal art from across the country.
Titled “Earth Songs”, the exhibition underway at Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA) here has been curated by Uma Nair and reflects the need to recognise and reaffirm the importance and vitality of Indian folk and tribal arts.
All the exhibits at the show are products of the LKA art camps that were held over the last three years, that saw participation by artists hailing from Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh among others.
“Great institutions must dig back into their founding missions and beginnings and reflect it forward into their present.
“All art is contemporary to its own time. The space between outside and inside must disappear – art must belong to everyone and walls must be replaced by veils of insight and foresight,” says Nair.
A myriad of tribal art forms – from Warli and Gond to Pithora and Bhil – have been showcased in about 70 paintings and 10 sculptures.
Tribal art is distinct in its motifs, which are generally inspired by the lifestyles of the antive population, their religious deities, mythology, or elements of nature.
For instance, motifs of the auspicious Pithora stories of the border regions of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are recurrent in the minimalist and geometricised figuration of Warli works.
“Stylistic representations and decorative elements are paradigms of primitive patterning in tribal art and this lays the quilt of imagery in a fascinating narrative that grips the viewer,” says Nair.
Japani Shyam from Jharkhand, who is the daughter of popular Gond artist Jangarh Singh Shyam has taken a different route from her father’s and carved her own insignia in her works that are replete with images of animals and most importantly, trees, the branches of which spread out as tentacles, sometimes from the antlers of a deer!