They belong to mountains
They belong to forests
Greeting all seasons with open arms
With a belief that there is a soul in everything…
Walk a few steps out of your home or just take a glance out of your window, you will surely see and feel the flora and fauna of the place. Lush green, ambrosial grove or just a couple of cacti. Few tame animals or fiercely feral brutes. Things get rashly unpredictable when you live in the forest. Your habitat keeps teaching you silently. Sometimes a teacher in disguise, sometimes a caring mother. You learn to control for the sake of living and you learn to make peace with the uncontrolled. You develop beliefs and design customs for a safe and happy life. All these ideas ultimately get expressions through your art. In this article, these expressions belong to the Gond art, an art of the Gond people.
This art is named after one of the largest tribes in India, the Gond tribe. This tribe spreads across the eight major states of the country. The Word ‘Gond’ is believed to have originated from the Dravidian word Kond, which means ‘the green mountains’.
Gond art is one of the most popular and celebrated tribal art forms of India, which is practiced by the artist community all over the world. This art form is inspired by the lifestyle of the people of the Gond tribe.
Gond tribe has thrived in forests for years, so they have learned to live in alliance with Mother Nature. They follow the tradition of Nature worship. Living in close proximity to forests and mountains, most of their rituals, cultures and traditions depends on the Nature cycle.
The tribe is popular for knowing many ancient astronomical ideas. They have their own established system for maintaining time and calendar with the help of the Sun and the Moon. They have their own terms for Sun, Moon, constellations and Milky Way. They pass on their historical teachings, culture, traditions, and knowledge to the coming generations through Gond art.
There are different Gond motifs for different occasions. Gond paintings for protection against evil, for celebrating rains, for denoting the change of season, for acknowledging the importance of birds and animals in their lives, for festivities, worship, wedding rituals, community values, their local Gods, occupations and activities for livelihood, expression of social bond like dancing, singing, community games and so on.
These paintings are made using natural colors like plant extracts, cow dung, charcoal and vegetable colors. They believe that looking at good images brings good luck, so they decorate their houses and courtyards with these paintings. The Gond paintings include elaborately outlined figures filled with vibrant colors and uniformly designed fine patterns. The paintings are drawn with the help of wooden sticks. The patterns are usually drawn to impart a sense of motion to the images. These paintings are drawn with extreme dedication, devotion and reverence.
The Gond artist Jangarh Singh Shyam was the first to bring this art form on paper and canvas, thus making it easier for the rest of the world to see this art form and pursue it. As this art gained popularity, it received ample interest from artists worldwide. This art form has also contributed to the wide amalgamation of the tribal groups with other populations.
The Gond art reflects the harmonious blend of tribal culture, their beliefs, livelihood, the abundance and the blessings of Mother Nature.