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Ramesh Hengadi

Warli art crafted on designer handbags by Ramesh Hengadi

“Every time I paint, I can hear the stories and songs of my forefathers that the women of my village sing even today. Every time you see a Warli painting, you must think of our legacy and the thousands of years that have gone into the development of these motifs!”

Ramesh Hengadi has been painting since he was a child. In class 8, he participated in a painting competition by INTACH, and won first prize. This defining moment helped him realise that even though the artform he had helped the women of his village in Maharasthra make since he was young was an everyday feature for him, for the world it was an enigma.

It has been 24 years since that day, and Ramesh continues to spread the rich legacy of the Warli tribe he belongs to. Teaching students and displaying his unique paintings across India and the world, Ramesh Hengadi believes Warli art has a bright future with hidden stories and legacies of his tribe being unravelled everyday through academic and social research.

“Even though I and my brothers have been painting for decades and have earned a name for ourselves, we are still learning. With every motif, story, and tribal thought that goes out in the world, our nomadic history grows new wings.”

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