Untitled (Birds in flight)


Gond is a celebrated shared art tradition practiced by the Gond-Pradhan community in India. It was first ‘discovered’ by Jagdish Swaminathan who was searching for original artworks from Indian tribes in the 1970s. The search ended with him meeting the talented artist Jangarh Singh Shyam, considered the pioneer of Gond art. The themes of the painting revolve around ritualistic idols and motifs, narrative paintings as well as depictions of the natural world and its harmony. These usually follow an intricate pattern of lines and dots within the figures depicted.

This painting, created by Sukhnandi Vyam, showcases several birds in flight. The birds, white with black ink shadings, contrast brilliantly with the bright acrylic blue sky. The perspective of the painting could either be from below or above; the interpretation is left entirely to the viewer. Sukhnandi Vyam began created sculptures for his house when he was 9 years old. He learnt the shared expression of the Gond style from his uncle and teacher Jangarh Singh Shyam. Although the Gond idiom is shared by the community at large, each artist creates personal works that brings forth their individuality. Likewise, Sukhnandi Vyam’s work draws heavily from its historical-cultural context but is not limited by the same. While his early wooden works drew from the ritualistic aspects and idols of the Gond-Pradhan community, his paintings focus on storytelling.

Vyam takes oral histories passed on to him by his ancestors and creates playful images in his own depictions of these stories. Trees with their own feet, raindrops that take the form of fishes, as well as the shifting perspectives of flying birds are some examples of Vyam’s personification of nature through intricate patters of dashes and dots. Radhi Parekh, director of Artisans, describes his work shows “the obvious reverence for the natural world, and the affinity and intimacy with it”. This ability speaks to Vyam’s individual expression and voice within the artform.

To read more on the artform, click here.


Untitled (Birds in flight)
Sukhnandi Vyam
Mixed media on paper
H: 73 cm x W: 52.8 cm
Accession No.