What is GOND Art ?

Gond art is the paintings of Pardhan Gonds, the indigenous people living near Madhya Pradesh in Central India.

In the olden times, the occupation of Pardhan Gond people were to sing invocations to the divine beings in nature, along with the string instrument called Bana. They were also the storytellers of the villages, who would educate the younger generation about their mythology and culture. The Gond art originates in the wall decoration they used to make in their house as a part of their daily life.

Gond art is characterised by the mythical as well as folklore motif passed down among them, floral as well as faunal motif, and the patterned designs delicately filling each motif. There is no end in listing its charm; the mutuality between the humans and the animals, uniquely drawn creatures, the variety of colour combinations, the beauty of patterned designs, and so on.

Pop and modern while being a tribal art, Gond art has been introduced in many museums around the world in the recent years. In Japan, it is increasingly being recognised through the handmade screen-printed books by Tara Books, such as “The Night Life of Trees” and “Creation”.

Madhya Pradesh

Jangarh Singh Shyam

In the 1980s, a group of researchers in search of indegenous art found a relief made by a young Pardhan Gond, Jangarh Singh Shyam (1962-2001). The curator J. Swaminathan, the leader of the research group, was astonished by the rare talent of Jangarh, and persuaded him to study painting. Jangarh moved from the village to city, and started painting on the paper and canvas that he was given. Jangarh’s unique work gained reputation, and the 1989 exhibition at Centre Pompidou mesmerised many art lovers.

Besides his own painting work, Jangarh started an atelier school called “Jangarh Kalam” where he taught his people from the village how to paint. This gave rise to the Gond art as we know now. Unfortunately, Jangarh left the world at the young age of 39; but his students are now flourishing as Gond artists worldwide.

Jangarh Singh Shyam ©Jangarh Singh Shyam
Jangarh Singh Shyam ©Jangarh Singh Shyam