Updated: May 26, 2022
Vivacious, Joyous, enthralling, and simple are just a few adjectives to define the Gond paintings. Being the residents of Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha, the Gonds have created an artistic renaissance in their community. Recently, I went on a trip to Orchha where I had an encounter with Anusariya, a Gond artist. I clicked her picture, and then asked with curiosity, “ Didi ye aap kya bna rhe ho?.”She replied, “ Main ye Gond painting bna rahi hu inko bechti hu or inse mere ghar ka kharcha chalta hai.”After intriguing more about Anusariya, I got to know that she is a Pardhan Gond. And singers, and musicians are born in their community. But Anusariya was a Gond artist by choice who migrated to the city for a better living opportunity. It made me even more curious about the Gond Art. Undeniably, I was flabbergasted with the natural themes of the Gond art. The events, festivals, folklores, and animals were impressively depicted. There was a deep story in each painting.
What was the purpose?
Traditionally, the Gond tribes used to paint the Gond elements on the walls of their houses to depict their day-to-day activities. They believed these paintings to be a symbol of optimism for fighting against all the evil energies. The purpose of these paintings is to invite positive vibes during their festival called Digna. When Shri Jangarh Singh, a Pardhan Gond artist, is known to bring a change in the style of Gond paintings, there are still other artists who pour a unique touch into their creations.
How do we make the authentic Gond colors?
Mr. Deblal Tekam(A Gond artist), a native of Patangarh district of Madhya Pradesh, told about the origin of the natural colors of the Gond painting. Like all the traditional Gond artist, he made black from wooden coal and mahua and drumstick bark (after boiling the bark), white from the Chui soil, and red from the Red Soil and geru. Moreover, he prepared yellow color from Ramraj Soil, dark green color from semi leaves, and light green from cow dung. However, artists also use synthetic colors today, and the same process Anusariya follows.
What is the medium?
The Gond paintings were the murals that the Gond women used to paint on the walls of their houses, and the Debalaya(place of worship dedicated to the family god) as a tradition. Later, these artists started painting them on the Canvas, and even Anusariya does the same. She was creating it on canvas and handmade sheets. These paintings, when done on the floor, are called Bhumichitra, whereas Bhitti Chitra is the name given to the wall paintings. While the Gonds use the term, 'Godna' for body tattooing or body paintings. Few renowned lodges like Samode Safari Lodge in Bandhavgarh, and Singinawa Jungle Lodge, Kanha, took inspiration from the Gond murals for decorating their interiors.
When the Gond tradition, folktales, mythological, oral history, traditional song, and the natural world are the subject matters of the Gond paintings, they have lost their essence somewhere. These arts need to be promoted more, and the art should serve as a new vision!