Sunday, February 3, 2013

A show of Warli Paintings in London

Grosvenor Gallery will host a show of Warli Paintings, probably a first of its kind by it. Being hosted in collaboration with a renowned expert in the domain of tribal & folk Indian art, Hervé Perdriolle, the exhibition focuses on a wonderful visual tradition created by the Warli Tribe from the rural district of Thane, just about 90 miles north of Mumbai. A press note makes the following observations about art of the Warlis and the community itself
  • They are an indigenous tribe or Adivasis guided by their own traditions and beliefs. The Warlis are essentially farmers. Their name probably comes from the term ‘warla’, which means a plot of land. The Warlis are not vegetarian and feed themselves on the little livestock they raise, supplemented by the results of their fishing and hunting. They speak Warli dialect, which has no written form. Today, there are approximately 600,000 tribe members.
  • The main component in their art is rhythm. The incessant movement in their art is related to human activity in general. The reason why gods are rarely represented in their art is because they are generally manifested in the forms of animals, minerals or plants.
  • One of the rare divinities to be represented is the goddess Palaghata. She is the symbol of abundance and fertility. Her body is composed of two inverted triangles - pala and ghata, the male and female. They symbolize the balance between the male and the female and also in the relationship between man and nature.
  • The Warlis only use two colors in their paintings: red ochre, the same color as their earthen huts, is used to create the ground, and white, which used to be made using rice powder, is the color of the figures and motifs. This extreme economy of means allows a minutely detailed pictography to be created either as a complement or separately from their ritual motifs and daily activities.

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