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Tribal Art Workshop 


It was a Sangam of India's rich cultural heritage.  Folk and tribal communities from all over India came together at the IGNCA for a fortnight-long workshop.  some 30 groups of artists demonstrated their art in wood, iron, textile, painting, bell metal, beads and mud.  Their creations were displayed in an exhibition.  Most of these were acquired by the IGNCA for its archival and exhibition collections and also to enrich the cultural landscape of the Centre to reflect and complement its activities.

Potters, painters working on various media, wood work artists, iron, brass and bell metal craftsmen, tattoo makers and idol casters from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Orissa, Maharashtra and Bihar worked on their creations side by side.  The interaction between them too enhanced their art.  For the artists the art was an inheritance and not a chosen profession.  Therefore, an essential atmosphere of non-commerce existed.

Metal Workers from Baster                                                       Artists doing warli paingings

The richness in the variety of the local traditions could be seen when one observed the artists.  For instance, though two sets of people from adjoining areas in Jabalpur were working on Gondi vitti chitra, there were distinct features which set them apart.  The artists explained that while one marked the lines in wavy curves, the other marked them in dots.  They both had different and specific motifs and themes.  They did not step into each other's creative space.

Similarly the Warli painting from Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh could be identified as varying.  In both, the essence of Warli was there but they varied in presentation and style.

       Metal Workers                                                                      Clay tablets of Bastar


Worshipping clay before giving forms in the hands of potters from Tamil Nadu

The variety in metal work was amazing.  There were at least three different methods being used to create metal ware.  The artists from Bastar made the original structure in clay and put wax mould on it.  Then in a cauldron of molten metal, (bell metal) this was dipped.  The wax melted and the metal filled the space.

In another method, the basic structure was made of mud.  Wax strings were would on it.   On top of this another coat of mud was applied.  Between the three layers there was a hole.  This structure was dried well in the sun.  Through the hole, molten brass was poured.  When it cooled down, the mud was peeled off.  Thus, each piece was created anew and not cast in the mould.

In the third method, images were made from metal sheets.  Similarly, in terracotta, the potters from Tamil Nadu made hollow images and fired them rendering them strong.  Even a huge horse weighed nothing.

The potters from Bastar made clay tablets with reliefs on them while the ones from West Bengal made images in solid red clay.

The IGNCA has done extensive documenting of the workshop. 



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