Exhibition in Delhi traces the Gond tradition of painting through the works of 25 artists | Eye News

At the time, Swaminathan sent several teams to the interiors of the state to scout for talent and during one such excursion, artist Vivek Tembe spotted 17-year-old Jangarh Singh Shyam’s Hanuman in peeli mitti and requested him to paint on paper, taking the sheets back to Swaminathan, who invited him to work in Bhopal. “Jangarh, who was primarily a singer, started converting his musical memories, myths and legends that he used to sing, into visual art,” says Vajpeyi. A keen learner, he recalls how Shyam soon became adept with acrylics and his ingenuity gave birth to a new school of painting that is now popular as “Jangarh Kalam” or “Gond Qalam”.

While the genre has now gained international recognition and several artists practising it have won national and international awards, Vajpeyi has continued to be associated with artists working in Patangarh and Mandla, which was SH Raza’s birth place. “Raza had seen some works of Jangarh Singh Shyam and was very impressed. The two had also met at Bharat Bhavan,” recalls Vajpeyi. He adds, “At the latest count, there are over 80 men and women painting in Patangarh, Mandla and Bhopal.”

artists, painting Kumar Shyam’s artwork (Image credit: The Raza Foundation)

In an exhibition that is on till May 18 at the India International Centre in Delhi, The Raza Foundation has now brought together works of over 25 artists to celebrate the genre in its traditional form as well as the contemporary interventions that have influenced it over the decades. “Most of us have grown up around this art, from admiring it on the walls of homes in our village (Patangarh) to learning how to handle the brush and the use of colour,” says Rahul Shyam. In the exhibition he has, among others, a tree that represents the five elements of nature and the human soul. “In Gond tradition, trees play a significant role in most rituals,” shares Rahul.

In another work, he paints Nandi in the form of a bull worshipping Bada Dev, the supreme deity of the Gond-Pradhan community. Patangarh-based Ram Kumar Shyam notes that while artists now also depict modern issues, the art continues to find inspiration in the Gond tribe’s folklore and oral tales passed through centuries, and their natural surroundings. “Nature is sacred for us,” says Ram, adding that each artist has developed their individual style.

Festive offer

Having learnt the art by observing his elder brother, artist Bhajju Shyam says, “It gives us great pride to see our traditional art attainting recognition and when people show interest in understanding the stories behind a painting or our thought process.” In the exhibition, among others, he depicts the lillari kothi, meant for storage of grains, through an elephant within which he paints a rural landscape. In another work, he narrates the story of a khuta bagh (tiger) who has grown too old to hunt.

Though Jangarh passed away in 2001 during a residency at the Mithila Museum in Japan’s Niigata, Rahul notes that his legacy continues and artists are now reinventing the form in myriad ways.

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First uploaded on: 04-05-2024 at 22:09 IST

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *