There are many things that India is known for, ‘cultural diversity’ and ‘religious diversity’ being one of them. This is depicted in different expressive forms like cinema, plays, painting & drawing, etc. Indian folk art forms that have survived for generations are Madhubani Paintings, Warli Paintings, Kalamkari Paintings, Tanjore Paintings, Kalighat Paintings, etc. As a matter of fact, the core principles of the majority of these art forms are untouched by modernization and that is the primary reason why these art forms/paintings are still in huge demand. Art lovers/art collectors are always on the lookout for ‘artwork from genuine artists’ and emerging artists are eager to learn from their experienced counterparts. We have a close look at Warli folk paintings – evolution, art format, painting methodology, etc.
To take a closer look at any art form, it is very important to know about the ‘roots of art form’ since it might give you a whole new reason to admire the art form. For instance, everyone knows that Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but your admiration for Taj Mahal would reach to a whole new level when you realize that it was all man-made and took close to 20 years for completion. Though Taj Mahal is a monument (not an art form), the same thumb rule also applies for paintings. Warli Painting is widely popular in Maharashtra and its origin is estimated to be as early as 10th century AD. Warli is one of the largest tribes that can be found on the outskirts of Maharashtra. It is a tribal art form that was created by the tribes residing in the North Sahaydri range of India (Dahanu, Jawhar, Talasari, Palghar, Mokhada, and Vikramgadh of Palghar district).
You might lament that being in close vicinity of Mumbai; this tribal art form would have undergone a massive amount of urbanization. It is surprising that Warli Paintings/art form still have their roots preserved and this is the reason why art collectors are still in awe with Warli paintings. Earlier Warli paintings were only done by women but now, even men are involved in the painting activity. Men are often seen doing Warli paintings on paper by adding modern elements like bicycles, etc. in their creation. Unlike other painting formats which showcase Gods & Goddesses’ (or mythological characters); Warli paintings depict social life. Images of animals, human beings, scenes from daily lives form the crux of Warli paintings. As far as colors are concerned, White is the most widely used color and it is made by grounding rice. In some occasions, dots of red & yellow are also used but the usage depends on the ‘theme of the Warli painting’.
Warli painting designs that represent Palghat, marriage God are considered auspicious and many cases, even marriage cannot take place without these paintings. Though the core of Warli paintings is not centered on deities, these are still considered sacred as it is believed that the powers of Gods reside in these paintings. The beauty about painting as an art form is that each ‘painting format’ would have its own unique style & quality. One interesting thing about Warli painting is that you would never be able to locate any straight lines in the painting since a series of dots & dashes make one line in this art form. However, with the advent of modernization, artists are taking some creative liberty and some of the artists have started using ‘simple straight lines’ as well.
If you want to procure a genuine Warli painting from a renowned artist, your search should go beyond the regular art galleries since they cannot cover the wide spectrum of artists. An online art gallery like Gallerist has paintings that depict the Warli art & other art forms from renowned, as well as emerging artists. It is like a one-stop destination for anything related to drawing & paintings. Next time, you plan to have a look at genuine art forms like paintings & drawings; better to consider the online medium rather than the offline medium!