Tribal Art & Culture of Madhya Pradesh & Rajasthan
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When Bhadia Bai drew the ritual digna on the walls of her house, her five year old son, Nikki, would spend hours watching her and copy the lines on his slate. His father, Bharat Singh Urveti, encouraged his talent, and when Nikki grew older, his father asked him to create images in his notebook. Bharat Singh told his son stories about gods and goddesses, like Thakurdev, Budi Mai, Galiharin Devi and then asked him to paint them. Nikki had seen Jangarh Singh Shyam’s paintings and he was determined to be an artist when he grew up.

Nikki Urveti not only became an artist, he was awarded the Rajya Hasta Shilpa Puraskar by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in 2006. His father is writing a book on Gondi gods and goddesses and many Pardhan artists consult him before they paint themes from the pantheon. Although the gods and goddesses had so far been formless, contemporary Gond artists are now trying to give them form in the way they visualize and paint them. Nikki Urveti’s paintings are mostly of Thakurdev, the god who rides on a horse and guards the village all night.


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