11/100 – Day 9 Ganesh Chaturti

The Warlis are an indigenous tribe from the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra in Western India. Their paintings are very simply, primarily made of circles, triangles and squares. Stick people, plants and animals. But the designs are very intricate. Traditionally these designs are painted on walls of the huts during celebrations. The walls are plastered with cow dung and earth and provide an ochre-red background. A mixture of rice, water and a tree gum is used to make the white paint. Bamboo is chewed into a point to make a brush.

This style of painting became very fashionable a few years ago. Now it is to be seen framed on walls in urban homes, on household products and all kinds of garments – painted, printed, embroidered.

During our stay in Vapi, Gujarat 15 years ago, we were introduced to Ramesh Patara, an art teacher at the local village school, a Warli tribesman himself. He agreed to paint some sarees for us. We found handwoven silk at the local Khadi Gramodyog centre. When I asked him to do some thing unique for me, he at first demurred saying the designs are traditional village scenes and modern themes would not be advisable. So we worked together to design this saree. Instead of filling in the outlines of the figures, he painted AROUND the outlines, creating a fantastic “negative” effect to the desgings. He went ahead and gave it a geometric border to give the effect of a stylised roll of camera film! He has used tiny dots of paint to fill in the spaces. IT took him twice the time and effort to paint this saree. A truly unique and beautiful creation!

To compliment it I have chosen brass jewellery hand-crafted by the Bastar tribesmen of Central India. These 8 sided beads are also very traditional in pattern.

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