Life in the village (Gond Art)
Signed and dated in Devnagari (lower right) (each)
Acrylic on paper (each)
22 x 28.25 in | 56 x 71 cm (each)
(Set of three)
Kala Bai, the first Gond Pardhan woman to use canvas, brushes and acrylic paint for her artistic expressions, enjoys painting tigers and reindeer, trees and birds. The tigers, in her paintings are especially dear to her, as they remind her of her childhood in Amarkantak. When the state of Chattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh, Kala Bai and Anand Singh Shyam drew the new map of Madhya Pradesh. The map was released by the then President of India Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. Another memorable incident was when Leslie, a film animator from Scotland involved Kala Bai and other artists to illustrate a Gond folktale, which was later turned into an animated film by Tara Douglas. The film won an award in the Tallest Story Competition in Scotland.
Gond is a form of Indian folk and tribal art named after the largest tribe of central India with the same name. The word Gond is a derivation of the konda word meaning green hill which consists of parts of Madhya Pradesh, Chattishgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Orissa. The inspiration behind Gond art is almost always nature and social customs represented through a repetitive patterning of dots and dashes. Each artist uses this patterning to create his or her own signature style while choosing colour schemes and subjects that are indicative of the communities they represent. The forest and its creatures are a major theme in Gond art. The community's myths inspire artists to create images with a certain "royal" character, which it is perhaps possible to interpret as an artefact of a time when the Gonds ruled much of central India. The largeness of each creature and tree, irrespective of the size of the canvas, is related to this and to the reality of a landscape once densely populated with wildlife with which humans interacted closely. Today, Gond artists are able to mobilize this history to create a wide variety of art that manifests specific forms of knowledge and experience, which they represent in identifiable pictorial styles. Gond art's repertoire of birds, animals and folklore are still a part of their animistic beliefs even as they travel far from home.