May 12, 2022 5:00:45 pm
India has a rich diversity of varied traditional and folk art forms that are still practised by many communities across the country. One such popular art form is Warli, that has its roots in the Warli region of Maharashtra. And spreading awareness about this intricate and beautiful art are the Vayeda brothers – Mayur and Tushar, who are currently painting a wall in Lodhi Colony, New Delhi, famous for its striking wall arts.
Organised by st+art India Foundation, it is an art residency project, focusing solely on folk artists. “Tushar and I have been practising this art for almost 12 years now. We are inclined towards miniature and contemporary style. For this wall, we are focusing on the traditional way of painting that we have learned from our ancestors and our community. We are doing different experiments and working on different elements right now. But, at the same time, we don’t want to damage the traditional sense of Warli,” Mayur told indianexpress.com.
Born in the Warli community, the siblings are self-taught artists, who picked up the skills from villagers and their relatives. “We are still living and practising with the community,” he added.
Sharing that the community calls it Warli ‘writing’ instead of ‘painting’, he said, “It is because we speak in Warli language but we don’t have a written script. So, everything about the rituals, paintings and other important things of the tribe is only oral. We express all these stories, folks, religion and daily life rituals through the painting.”
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Warli painting employs the use of minimal elements and materials to depict the stories of the community, he shared. “In this art form, we use basic figures like triangles, circles, squares and lines. Generally, we make our own brushes. We use bamboo sticks to paint. For canvas, we buy simple cotton cloth and use cow dung and red soil. For this wall, we are experimenting with terracotta colours. ”
The wall of Lodhi Colony, which is currently being adorned with Warli art by these artists, will stand testament to the changes happening in the community. “On this wall, we are trying to express the stories of our tribes in our way. Earlier, we focused only on daily life and rituals. But now, different development projects, infrastructure-building and migration to cities are happening in the community. We are trying to showcase the same in our art,” the 29-year-old said.
Despite the rich history of such tribal art forms in India, there’s a looming fear of losing them to ignorance. “When we started, we had no knowledge about galleries and projects — about which we learned and explored over the years. But, there are many artists who still don’t know much about how to take their art forward. Projects like these help us connect with different artists and understand their processes,” he concluded.
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