Tribal charms


The blank handmade paper, placed in front of Goverdhan, awaits the moment he picks up his sleek brush and dexterously begins to transfer ideas, spawning in his mind, on it. There is no rough sketch, yet he effortlessly manages to create an amazing piece of tribal art, known as Saora painting, which has been an identity of his tribe for years.

Goverdhan Lugun hails from Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, who is committed to practice this art, a legacy, handed down to him by his forefathers. Saora is a tribe in Orissa and is said to be the pioneer of this art. Paintings provide an outlet for the creative skills of the tribesmen, but traditionally, the art was more like a ritual, a religious belief that was performed on various occasions.

Tribesmen celebrate all important events, both auspicious and inauspicious ones, like childbirth, weddings, harvest season, death, and the outbreak of diseases by adorning the walls of their houses with Saora paintings. Talking about the art, Goverdhan says, these paintings are mainly done with natural colours. Generally, white and black colours are used, which are made from rice flour, soot and ash. For any variation in shades, extracts from leaves and herbs are used. Traditionally, a fine brush made of bamboo is used to paint.

“This art may come naturally to tribesmen, but those who really wish to excel in it need to complete a two-year course in drawing,” he maintains. He himself feels honoured to have learned the art from his guru, Rameshwar Munda, an acclaimed Saora artist.

Hailing from a village known for its scenic beauty, he says the theme of his paintings is majorly inspired from the life he observes around him. While everyday themes are depicted on walls, cloth, canvas and paper, he specifies, mythological and religious stories are illustrated only on patachitra.

The fine and delicate style of paintings does strain his eyes. However, he wishes to pass on this art to his children. “I would certainly teach my kids this art,” says the artist.

Comments (+)