Myriad hues of tribal art

For posterity

(left) A piece of scroll painting depicting the marriage of Lord Rama created by Andhra Pradesh artist Pawan Kumar.  (right) Gonn art by Munki Bapu Vayeda.

The premises of CAVA had turned into a melting pot of different arts. The heritage structures and places of interest of the city of palaces have come alive on canvas. Many a traditional tribal art works slowly took shape against a rustic background, and from mud too. Mysore style paintings with its fine and alluring work and grandeur made their appearance. All these at a not so attractive shed in the premises of Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts (CAVA) campus.

As 10-day art camp, “Chithraankan” concludes on March 21, some of the best traditional arts blossomed from the dexterous hands of artists drawn from various parts of the state and country.

If the landscape artists recreated the best architecture and tourist spots of city using water colours, many other tribal artists from hinterlands of Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra shared their expertise and experience on natural materials with their counterparts here.

Artists Jayanth Astankar from Nagpur, Hanumantharaya from Gulbarga and Indrani Goswami from Kolkata worked on landmarks of Mysore like Jayamarthanda gate of Amba Vilas Mansion, Chamundi temple, the Nandi on Chamundi hill, Jaganmohana palace, the Chamarajendra Technical Institute or CAVA building, the Srirangapatna fort, Tipu’s summer palace and others.

“These works were done on the spot. The city of Mysore has a rich heritage and architecture which is not available in my hometown. I will have to go in search of such structures in Nagpur. But, an artist can find a subject for him on every street of Mysore city,” says Jayanth, who works as a graphic designer at Nagpur and does water landscapes paintings in leisure.

While, Hanumantharaya says he was on his maiden visit to Mysore and was impressed with the climate, cleanliness and the art and architecture of monuments and heritage buildings in city.

According to Indrani Goswami, who has worked on Tipu’s palace and few other landmarks of Srirangapatna and Mysore says she used acrylic to give shape to her ideas and concerns. Her acrylic work shows need to protect the ecology and environment from urbanisation.

Vishal Yadav from Lucknow, who has worked oil paintings says he visited the Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery at Jaganmohana palace and fulfiled his long wish to see Raja Ravi Verma’s paintings.

“All his works are in oil paintings. Unfortunately, there is no proper preservation of the paintings. The radiation of light are directly exposed on the portraits making it vulnerable to wear-and-tear,” he opines. While, Ravikumar, Vishal’s peer at Lucknow Fine Arts College gives a message of deterioration of heritage and architectural wonders due to poor maintenance through his ‘line’ drawings.

The most fascinating works among the tribal artists are the art pieces by Shiv Murthykar, a native of Harirajpur in Madhya Pradesh, Mohan Singh Shyam of Gonn Adivasi in Madhya Pradesh and Bitthichitr Kala artist Athmadas Manikpuri from Chattisghar.

Shiv Murthykar has come out with tribal art, Pithora which uses natural colours and mud. The natural colours like yellow, red and others come from mud and the rocks in his village, Tabwa, the 55 year-old artist told City Herald.

Munki Bapu Vayeda and Raghunath Rama Vangal from Thane Maharashtra explain that “Gonn” art was done using rice powder and mud in past. Now, she uses white colour and red-oxide. Mohan Singh Shyam from Bhopal also works on tribal Gonn paintings akin to his region.

Athmadas Manikpuri brings out the tribal lifestyle in his Bittichitr Kala.

“This art piece shows tribals collecting the flower and fruit of Mahua tree in Chattisgarh forest. The fruit is used to make desi liquor which is natural and free from chemicals and also used in various tribal dishes,” he says. At the camp, Mysore artists M Girija and Meera Devi work on arduous Mysore style paintings. 

Talking to City Herald, Gopal Betthawar, coordinator of the workshop says the works executed in the 10-day workshop will be preserved providing a frames and exhibited all across country.

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