Paintings are an art form that have been reflective of the culture and tradition of a country. India has always been culturally and artistically rich and one of the oldest folk art forms of India is Warli painting. Warli is the name of a tribal community found on the northern edges of the city of dreams-Mumbai. Regardless of being in such close proximity to Mumbai, Warli tribesmen have no major impact of current urbanisation.
This painting is tribal art, which is generally made by tribal people in the northern region of the Sahyadri Range, which includes urban areas like Jawhar, Palghar, Dahanu, Talasari, Mokhada, and Vikramgarh of the Palghar region in India. This tribal art form originated from Maharashtra and is still practiced.
The world became more familiar with this art form in the early 70s, however, the roots of this art form may go as early as 10th century AD, though there are no records of the exact origin. The people of Warli community use the art to decorate their households. It is also mostly done by women on special occasions such as weddings, festivals, or harvests.
For the Warli tribe, farming has always been an essential part of their life and their main source of income and food. Because of this, the tribe is very gracious towards nature for everything it has provided them. On different occasions, this folk art was found to be centred around the concept of nature with its elements.
Frequently, different parts of nature are the central focus, which is additionally featured in these artistic creations. The art form is very popular in India, however, still it has not been able to gain a lot of acknowledgement outside the region of the country.
In Warli painting, geometrical shapes are mainly used such as circles, squares, and triangles to form multiple shapes which depict the life and belief of the Warli tribe. Initially, tribal art was done on the walls. The pattern of Warli consists of hunting scenes, flowers, wedding rituals, and other activities.
This art form is usually painted over a brown background which is a mixture of mud and cow dung cakes. The white shade is used to draw shapes and figures. The white pigment is a mixture of rice and water along with the gum and chewed bamboo sticks from the end were used as a paintbrush. Perhaps the most popular theme in Warli art is a spiral chain of people around one focal theme.
According to Know India, “Many of the Warli paintings that represent Palghat, the marriage god, often include a horse used by the bride and groom. The painting is sacred and without it, the marriage cannot take place. These paintings also serve the social and religious aspirations of the local people. It is believed that these paintings invoke powers of the Gods.”
A sequence of dots and dashes form one line, it is uncommon to see a straight line. Now, the artists have started to draw a straight line. Even men have taken to painting and they are regularly done on paper fusing conventional beautiful Warli themes with current components like the cycles etc. This Indian folk art on paper has become very popular and is presently sold all over India.
People from Gujarat and Maharashtra have a special place in their heart for this fine art since they have seen them on the walls of schools and homes.
Today, little works of art are done on fabric and paper however they look best on the walls or in the form of stupendous paintings that draw out the immense and mystical universe of the Warlis. However, this folk art is not restricted to painting only on mud walls anymore.
Nowadays it is used to be seen in the home decor theme and appears to be developing step by step. From pots and jars to bed sheets and blind prints, they are becoming popular and loved by the public as well. Not only home decor but the cloth and fashion industry is attracted to this Indian folk art as well. These days seeing a beautiful Warli painting printed saree adorned by women in the city or the fashion show ramp is a typical sight that is particularly loved by everybody!