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Gond art is a form of painting from folk and tribal art that is practiced by one of the largest tribes in India – the Gond – who are predominantly from Madhya Pradesh, but also can be found in pockets of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh, and Odisha. The work of Gond artists is rooted in their folk tales and culture, and thus story-telling is a strong element of every painting.
The Gond, are the largest Adivasi Community in India. Gond comes from the Dravidian expression, Kond which means ‘the green mountain’. They are Dravidian and their origin can be traced to the pre-Aryan era. They refer to themselves as Koi or Koiture. Their language is related to Telugu and other Dravidian languages.
According to the Gond belief system, all things are inhabited by a spirit and, consequently, are sacred. Gond paintings are a reflection of man’s close connection with his natural surroundings. While a majority of Gond paintings do take inspiration from nature, it isn’t the only source of ideas. They also turn to the myths and legends of India or showcase images from the daily lives and dreams in their art.
Gond paintings can be described as ‘on line work’. Art is created out of carefully drawn lines. Lines are used in such a way to convey a sense of movement to still images. Dots and dashes are added to impart a greater sense of movement and increase the amount of detail. Another very striking facet of Gond paintings is the use of bright vivid colours such as white, red, blue and yellow. The paints are usually derived naturally from objects such as charcoal, coloured soil, plant sap, leaves and even cow dung.
Modern Gond paintings aren’t painted on walls and floors and are instead painted on canvas. This makes sure that it is not only much easier to transport, carry and hang on a wall, but the use of canvas helps the paintings to stand out much more than it would if it were made on a wall. Due to the scarcity of natural colors in the current age, Gond artists have started to use poster colours. This combined with the use of canvas has made modern Gond paintings much more vivid than its traditional counter parts.