GOND ART: The Indian Tribal Art of Painting

gond art
(Image Courtesy: Craft Archives)

Painted songs, folklore and stories on the walls; this is what Gond art is popularly known as!!!

About Gond Art:

Gond is an Indian tribal art of painting practised by “Pradhan’s & Gond”; the largest Adivasi community of Central India. The population of Gond tribe is more than 4million and these tribal people reside in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Orissa. They are Dravidian and their origins can be traced back to pre Aryan era; that is more than 1400years ago. The word “Gond” comes from a Dravidian expression “Kond” meaning green mountains. Among Gond’s, prominently the Pardhan Gonds are renowned for their artistic skills, be it painting or music.

The work of Gond artist is rooted in their folklores and cultural stories which can be seen in every Gond painting. It is said, the Gond people have a belief that viewing a good image brings good luck. Gond paintings have also been used by the Gond people as a way to record their history. They decorate the walls and floor of their houses with traditional tattoos and motifs. The peculiar style of Gond art reflects in the unique designs of the view around them creatively painted on the walls. They paint vibrant depictions of local flora, fauna, and gods such as Marahi Devi and Phulvari Devi (Goddess Kali), holy deities, the beauty of nature, birds and animals or just the day to day event. Making the ground and walls their canvas the tribal people used to paint designs using limestone, charcoal, coloured soil, plant sap, leaves, and cow dung as a natural colour. This form of Gond art is described as Dinga and Bhitichitra. Dinga means painting on grounds and Bhitichitra means painting on the walls. Traditionally, Gond art is made on festive occasions such as Karwa Chauth, Diwali, Ashtami and Nag Panchami. The Gond painting depicts the relationship between humans and nature, their beliefs, and cultural activities. Not only on the walls or floor the Gond art have also been practiced in the form of tattoos. The tribal women tattoo their hands, neck, back, legs, and shoulder with dot and line pattern of Gond art.

gond art
(Image Courtesy: Artisera)


gond art
(Image Courtesy: Swarajdigital.in)

The art of Gond painting can also be described as “on line work”. This mesmerising art form is created by putting together dots and lines. The lines are drawn in such a manner that it imparts a sense of movement to the still images. Use of bright colours like red, white, yellow and blue enhances the look of the painting and the dots increases the amount of detailing done. Due to the scarcity of naturally available colours and as per the nature of the material where Gond art is painted the painters have now started using poster colours too. Gond art paintings are somewhere similar to the Aboriginal paintings of Australia. Gond art painting uses a technique of creating textures by patterns such as spiral forms along with trees, leaves, animals, birds and human figures. These motifs are painted in several bright colours, showcasing village life. 

The Modern Twist:


With time and tide, the artisans started painting their unique Gond art on the canvas bringing their tribal art into the limelight. The Gond art is not only limited to the canvases but can also be seen on the home decor products adding a unique style statement to the interiors. Today, Gond art products are extremely popular globally. Hand-painted Gond art products like trays, coasters, ceramic wall plates, bottle lamps, wall paintings and kitchen decor like kettle and tray etc are in high demand. It is said that Gond art paintings are of such good quality that it lasts easily for 20 years without any external tampering. By painting Gond art on the decor objects artisans are trying to create awareness about this tribal art and increase its popularity globally.

The Artisanal Talk:

gond art
(Image Courtesy: Padhaaro)

Every artist has developed his or her own style; some use bright colors while some keep it simple black and white. Jangarh Singh Shyam was the first artist to use paper and canvas for Gond art his artwork was exhibited all over the country.  Today Suresh Kumar Dhurve, Jangarh Singh Shyam, and many more Gond artists have painted their art on canvases in art galleries worldwide. One such art gallery in Delhi is “Must Art Gallery”- the world’s first art gallery dedicated to Gond art.

The future of Gond art looks bright and beautiful like the vibrant colors of the painting!!!



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