With an aim to promote the ancient art that decorates the tribal huts of Gujarat and Maharashtra, the district authorities of the Dangs sent a pack of Warli paintings as a gift to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
A mamlatdar and a tribal artist from the district are on their way to Delhi with the pack of Warli painting, a tribal art using single-tone organic colours. Now, the district authorities hope that Modi takes the paintings and places them in his office to promote the art.
Around one-and-a-half-year ago, Modi had visited the place as a chief minister and encouraged the local administration as well as artists to promote the art. Following which, the district administration took several attempts to train the youngsters in the art and promote their work. District Collector G R Chaudhary said that since Modi’s last visit, the administration conducted several workshops, bought modern equipments and trained dozens of youngsters.
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“We have arranged some facilities for the support of the artists. So far, we have made about 1,000 paintings which are on display for the tourists in Saputara. Since Modiji had encouraged to promote this art, we have sent a gift which we hope he puts in the PMO,” Chauhdary said.
According to the Warli artist, Anil Patel, who left for Delhi with the package, the idea behind sending the gift is to promote the art. He said that on couple of occasions during Modi’s visit in the Dangs, he had the opportunity to interact with him for a brief moment. He said that the “art is dying in the district and there is a need to promote it so that it survives”. Warli art is largely practised by tribals in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
“My paintings carry the cultural legacy of tribal lifestyle. It is organic and all the colours which we use is locally-made without chemicals. At a time when the whole world is clamouring for organic products, Warli and many other tribal arts and the whole tribal lifestyle is something worth following. For this purpose, we need the support of the government,” said Patel, whose wife Kanchan is also a painter.
Additional Chief Secretary S K Nanda, who is also the Guardian Secretary of the Dangs, said that last week a group of artists decided to send the paintings to the PMO. He said if the paintings are placed on the wall of Prime Minister’s Office, the art will be known nationally. He added that the gifts are a result of several efforts by the local administration and artists.