Saturday, April 6, 2013

Time to add tribal artists to your folio

The astounding tribal art tradition, having taken roots and thrived at the fringes of the majority communities, is different from the mainstream.

Equally attached to their dynamic living traditions, woven into their day-to-day living like music, dance and drama, they still are hardly familiar to Western world; this despite the fact that many established contemporary artists like Sujata Bajaj have been influenced by tribal art and culture.

However, the representations of the adivasis have been full of prejudices and preset notions removed from reality, for a long time, as much for the Indians as for art lovers abroad barring a few exceptions. But that seems to be slowly changing.

Several tribal artists have produced a mesmerizing body of works over time. Pradyumna Kumar’s trees have movement, suggesting the sighing breeze passing through the leaves. An important aspect in Jivya Soma Mashe’s oeuvre is the fluidity with which he invariably paints each and every object/figure.

Pranab Narayan Das creates exquisite Pattachitra paintings whereas Dhavat Singh Uikey looks to translate the fascinating tales about the forest and the animals therein. Prakash Jogi, Gopal Saha, Narmada Prasad Tekam, Ram Singh Urveti, and Anwar Chitrakar are among other self-taught tribal artists from the different states of India

Mention must also be made of female practitioners like Bhuri Bai, Pushpa Kumari, Nankusia Shyam, Durga Bai, Japani Shyam, Gangu Bai, Laado Bai, Sita Devi, and Japani Shyam. Saffronart featured many of them as part of its Folk and Tribal Art online auction held a couple of months ago.

Indeed, artistic ‘adivasis’ have started drawing attention of astute art lovers. Going by the rising demand for tribal art at major auctions, the prices are only going to rise in future. To sum it up, this might just be the perfect time to acquire some wonderful works by these highly talented indigenous artists.

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