Reviving love for indigenous arts

Reviving love for indigenous arts

Folk and tribal arts in India have long been undermined as a serious art form and dismissed as a mere craft tradition. The indigenous artists of this genre are highly skilled in their craft and vividly bring to life pages from India’s rich cultural past stemming from the ritualistic, everyday life and social practices prevalent in their surroundings. In fact, folk and tribal art in various forms is a visual documentation of India’s cultural heritage.

Unfortunately, lack of patronage forced these artists to abandon their art and look for alternative means of livelihood. Soon most of these age old art practices will be a thing of the past, to be viewed only in museums.

Arts of the Earth, a gallery dedicated to the folk and tribal arts of India, is the only one of its kind in Delhi. It has been showcasing various such art forms for half-a-decade now. Tomorrow onward, the Lado Sarai-based gallery is displaying the best of its acquisitions in an exhibition titled ‘Gallery Collection’.

Here, one can find Santhal Scrolls, rare Chakshudan paintings, Old photographs (including Bourne & Shephard), Saura paintings from Orissa, Madhubani and Gond Paintings, amongst others.

Director Meenu Verma says, “Arts of the Earth was started with the objective of reviving and popularising these art forms by showcasing it in a gallery space, thus making it lucrative for the artists to continue with their art and saving these art forms from fading into oblivion. It is our aim to draw these artists out of obscurity and in to the limelight and to eventually bring their art form on an equal footing with mainstream art.”

Since its inception in October 2010, Arts of the Earth has held various exhibitions in its gallery premises, including those of Warli paintings, Pichwai, Orrisa Patachitra, Bengal’s Kalighat, Sanjhi and Pinguli chitragathi. The current exhibition has several fine samples of these including sculptures, pottery, textiles, puppets, masks, walking sticks, musical instruments and jewellery.

You can also discover items of popular art such as cinema posters, stills, lobby cards, old photographs, old cigarette cards, matchbox covers and oleographs. This is a fascinating exhibition for anyone interested in indigenous arts.

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