THE WONDROUS WARLI ART

India is a Pandora’s Box of spell bounding arts and crafts. One such craft originated from the North Sahayadri region of Maharashtra which covers the mundane scenes of everyday life in an artistic form known as Warli Art.

This art is a native craft to Warli tribe. They are showered with naturally talented trait of painting. They are outstanding artists who are adept in this folk art since the past two hundred decades. It is identifiable through its incredible arrangement of simple geometric shapes. They are painted articulated in white on a dark brown background.

Warli painting is undoubtedly an accumulation of stupendous abstract forms and graphical art. The traditional method of making intricate Warli paintings consists of an elaborate preparation process. In the first step, the walls of the huts were smeared with cow-dung, then with mud and finally with the reddish-brown terracotta paste in order to set the base for the paintings. A paste of powdered rice and gum was made. Thin reed like sticks from the Baharu tree as pens, the paintings were created. The Warli paintings are a creatively arranged display of circles, triangles and squares. The painting is formed with several crooked lines, dots, circles and triangles. Although they look like stick figures, but no straight lines are used warli art.

The paintings portray day to day scenes of farming and various agricultural activities- which forms the main occupation of the Warli community. Several scenes from the surrounding environment along with festive activities are also depicted. The synchrony between human beings and Mother Earth forms the centralized theme of all their artworks which revolves around the occupations of hunting, fishing, farming, cultural activities, flora and fauna.

Warli painting uses repeated geometric shapes which symbolizes a rhythmic tale. Each symbol from warli art has some significance. The circles represent the sun and moon, the triangles depict trees and mountains, square portrays sacred land. The central motif in most painting is the square or the chauk which encompasses the Palaghata. In every painting, the Palaghata or the mother goddess symbolizes fertility.

Warli art has evolved over the years. It was initially a women centric craft but gradually became popular among the men too. Initially, this form was art could be seen only on clay walls to mark a festivity or an event such as a wedding or a harvest festival. Nowadays, it has form a source of living. From a mere cultural activity, it evolved into a means of earning livelihood for the tribal community.

Since there is an increasing market demand for contemporary art for decorative purposes, the Warlis have moved from painting the walls of their homes to making Warli paintings on canvas, paper, crockery, table lamps and attires like saris, duppatas and scarves. Artists have now begun to use more sophisticated tools and have adapted to including colors other than the traditional brownish red and white. Warli prints have a vintage appeal which makes them famous in the world of contemporary design, not just in our country, but also globally.

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