Tribal Art & Culture of Madhya Pradesh & Rajasthan
(Bhil & Gond Paintings)

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video clip of Premi Bai | Premi bai showing her painting | Images from Baiga Village 

Premi Bai has always been good at digna, the designs painted on Gond houses during weddings and other festive occasions. As a child, She worked with her sister, plastering the walls and floor of their home, on which they would draw different patterns. As she grew up, she realized she also very much enjoyed making clay figures. Today, she and her husband Gariba Tekam work as daily wagers at the Museum of Mankind, in IGRMS, where Premiís paintings cover a full wall of one of the galleries. Since she came to Bhopal, Premi Bai has begun to use canvas and paper for her paintings. She and her husband encourage and support each other so that they are able to find time for their painting while bringing up their daughters.

When Premi Bai sits in front of a blank canvas, her mind goes back to her village in Mandla district, where she had to travel some distance to fetch water. On these long walks she saw cowherds with their cattle; all kinds of animals, birds, trees and ponds; Baiga children playing; the karma dance to the rhythm of musical instruments like the gudum and timki; the way a girl acted when she was possessed by a goddess. These memories find expression on her canvases. Premi Bai paints in the early morning or late at night, when her daughters are asleep. On Sundays, she and Gariba paint all day long, with their four daughters around them, imbibing the art. Varsha, studying in Standard VI and Sanskriti in Standard I have already started painting. Premi Bai and Gariba Tekam are now waiting for Priyanka, who is in Standard IV and Gayatri in Standard III to join them.


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