Gond Art : Your Vibes Attract Your Tribes
Why tribal arts never cease to charm us, even in the times when art has become a privilege to those who can spare some time, if they can, to think for themselves beyond earning his keep. The reason why indigenous arts get hold of our interests is that the native people or tribes have a kind of intimacy with Nature and its fauna & flora which we can merely pretend to have.
No matter how much we claim to be a naturalist, environmentalist or an artist but we can never level the degree of proximity Tribes and indigenous group share with their habitat. It is this proximity which is reflected their art & culture, there is nothing pretentious or copied in their art but they paint it with the same sublimity as they breath it everyday.
Gond tribal art is one such kind of traditional art of Adivasi people of central India (Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and eastern Maharashtra). Gonds are the largest adivasi community of India belonging Dravidian race, the name comes from Kond meaning the Green Mountains.
Gond paintings are the depiction of tribal culture, their myths, believes, folklore’s, festivals and the significance of various shamanic looking tattoos and other body arts.
Recently an American art collector Mitschell S. Crites published a book “The Enchanted Forest”, paintings and drawings which brought back to the life his encounter with a young Gond artist Jangarh Singh Shyam when He tried to sell his work to Crites to pay off his debts. Shyam took away his life at 39 yielding to the sheer indigence and economic marginalization. He was a Pardhan boy born in a family stricken with extreme poverty.
He was a prodigious painter & flute player by inheritance used to make elaborate Gond painting and would play flute at night in his lean-on dwelling. There are other such young Gond Artists who might have been running the risk of being exterminated but still pressing on to their tradition which is inherent to them.
As the famous adage goes “your vibes attract your tribes”. Vibes of these adivasi Gond Artists are reflected best in the gond Paintings and attract the very nomadic instincts of Human.
It’s our misfortune that the patrons of such a vibrant tribal Art life remains marginalized socially & monetarily and their works remains only in our peripheral interest because of our ignorance.