INTO THE JUNGLE
The Dravidian term Gond comes from Kond, which means green mountains. The community is naturally focused on the preservation of nature. Without green mountains, wildlife habitats and water tables die out. And without the bees and the birds, plant cycles are affected. The Gonds understood it.
COLOUR SWATCHES FROM A FOREST
How do rural artists create such vivid colours in their wall paintings? They dip into nature.
WATCH A GOND LANDSCAPE COME TO LIFE
Each Gond artist has a specific pattern they use to fill in shapes, almost a signature of sorts. Here’s a handy guide matching a few masters to their motifs
THE BALLAD OF JANGARH
Despite the appreciation he received in Delhi’s art circles, there were not enough buyers for [Jangarh Singh] Shyam’s work. [Art scholar and collector Mitchell Abdul Karim] Crites remembers a day when Shyam showed up at his home insisting that he buy a certain number of paintings. He writes about the experience in the preface of the book.
“I asked why? He replied in a soft voice, ‘My buffalo has died.’ I put in front of him the drawings we liked and said show us which ones will ‘do the needful’ as they say in India. I had no idea what a buffalo cost, so Jangarh slowly counted them one by one and when he reached the total he needed, he stopped and solemnly handed them to me saying, ‘Mitch Sahib, THIS is a buffalo.”