Even for the students of Government College of Art,who are used to guest lectures from celebrity artists,this is something novel: a hands-on workshop by the practitioners of centuries-old arts such as Gond,Soara,Warli and Pattachitra. The workshop includes all aspects of these traditional arts from preparing colours and canvases to the process. While most students have seen these art forms,not many have tried their hand at them, said Dr DS Kapoor,principal of the college,as he announced the opening of the workshop on Friday,on the sidelines of the ongoing Tribal Art exhibition.
Here,Hoga D Agadhun has come in from Gujarat to teach Soara paintings on mediums such as canvas,cotton cloth,paper and tussar silk,while Mangru Uikey from Madhya Pradesh will teach the youngsters the art of Gond paintings. These paintings were initially done by smearing mud on the wall and painting with brushes made out of bamboo,using natural colors. But now,the medium has changed, says Uikey,whos been painting since he was 13.
Like most other traditional arts,Gond paintings were initially formulated as a medium of expression,and became popular only in 1982 when painters such as Jangarh Shyam and Narmada Gond transformed them on to paper.
On the other side,Warli artists are grinding rice into a powder to prepare the white colour,which is used in their paintings. The form was used by our non-lettered forefathers to pass on their knowledge of the heritage and folk tales,and was usually accompanied by traditional singing, says Amit Mahadevi from Maharashtra,explaining how the form has been recognised by the French government but is yet to find ground in the home country.
We want the students to learn traditional art forms with least dilution, chips in Hari Bhai from Gujarat,an expert on Pithora paintings. Bhai says that although works such as painting on the rocks using natural colour or drawing on the cow-dung smeared wall using a rice-powder solution have lost their relevance today,these artists were trying to preserve what they can. Some of the art forms had gone in hibernation lately and have found acceptance now. We just want to take this process forward, he adds.