From Tribal Lands: 5 Unique Art Forms Invented by Indian Tribes

India has a rich history of art and culture, and its tribes have played a significant role in shaping and preserving it. Many Indian tribes have developed their unique art forms, which are admired and celebrated across the world. Here are five tribal art forms that come from India:


Gond Art

Gond art is a traditional form of painting that originated in the Gond tribe of Madhya Pradesh, India. The Gonds are one of the largest indigenous communities in India, and their art is characterized by intricate patterns and designs based on nature and mythology. The art form primarily uses natural colors made from charcoal, leaves, and flowers. The Gond paintings are often created on walls, floors, and other surfaces as a form of decoration, and are also done on paper and canvas for commercial purposes. The paintings often depict deities, birds, animals, and trees in a stylized and intricate manner. Gond art has gained recognition and popularity in recent years, and several Gond artists have gained national and international acclaim for their work. The art form has also been adapted for modern products such as textiles, home decor, and fashion accessories.


Lion Gond Painting by Kailash Pradhan
Animals Collection: Lion Gond Painting by Kailash Pradhan at MeMeraki


Bhil Art

The Bhil tribe has a rich and unique culture. The Bhilala sub-division is known for its Pithora painting, and Ghoomar is a traditional folk dance of the Bhil tribe. Bhil painting is characterised by the use of multi-coloured dots as infilling. Bhuri Bai was the first Bhil artist to paint using readymade colours and paper. Other known Bhil artists include Lado Bai, Sher Singh, Ram Singh and Dubu Bariya. Traditionally, the art of the Bhil folk would adorn the clay walls of their village homes. Beautiful images would be painted with neem sticks and other twigs, and natural dyes would be used. Turmeric, flour, vegetables, leaves and oil were used to derive brilliant colours to make fascinating frescoes on floors and walls, in a language created by the Bhils, to convey their experiences. 


Deer Bhil Painting by Geeta Bariya
Deer Bhil Painting by Geeta Bariya at Memeraki


Chittara Art  

Chittara art is a traditional form of folk art that originated from the Deccan region of India, particularly from the Malnad region of Karnataka. It is believed to have been practiced by the Halakki Vokkaliga community, a tribe of farmers and shepherds who inhabit the region. The Chittara art form is a unique blend of geometric patterns, bold colors, and intricate designs, created using natural materials such as rice flour, turmeric powder, and vegetable dyes. It is typically drawn on the walls and floors of houses during special occasions such as weddings, festivals, and religious ceremonies. The art form is deeply rooted in the cultural heritage of the Halakki Vokkaliga community, and it serves as a means of expression and communication of their beliefs, traditions, and way of life. Chittara art has gained popularity in recent years and is now recognized as a valuable contribution to India's rich cultural heritage. 


Hasegode Marriage painting by Ishwar Naik: Chittara Art
Hasegode Marriage painting by Ishwar Naik: Chittara Art at Memeraki


Warli Art 

Warli painting is a form of tribal art mostly created by the tribal people from the North Sahyadri Range in Maharashtra, India. This tribal art was originated in Maharashtra, where it is still practiced today. The Warli Painting tradition in Maharashtra is among the finest examples of the folk style of paintings. The Warli tribe is one of the largest in India, located outside Mumbai. The Warli culture is centered on the concept of Mother Nature, and elements of nature are often focal points depicted in Warli painting. Warli artists use their clay huts as the backdrop for their paintings, similar to how ancient people used cave walls as their canvases.


Free Birds: Warli Painting by Anil Wangad

Free Birds: Warli Painting by Anil Wangad at MeMeraki


Pithora Art

Pithora painting is a traditional folk art form of the Rathwa tribe, one of the indigenous tribes of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat in India. The art form is named after the deity Pithora, who is worshipped by the Rathwas. The paintings are made on the walls of the homes of the Rathwas and depict their myths, legends, and daily life. The paintings are usually made during auspicious occasions like weddings, harvest festivals, and other religious ceremonies. The colors used in the paintings are made from natural materials like soil, plants, and charcoal. The paintings are characterized by their bold lines, intricate patterns, and vibrant colors. Pithora art is not just a visual representation of the Rathwa culture, but it is also an important medium through which the Rathwa people preserve their cultural identity and pass it on to the next generation.


Pithora Art

Pithora Art (Read More)






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