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Warli Art - Maharashtra

Warli Art

The Warlis are tribal cultivators in the Thane district of north Maharashtra whose traditional art forms were in the past restricted to images of the mother goddess. However, since the 1960`s the artists have been encouraged to paint in a much freer narrative style. Typically these paintings show multitudes of tiny human forms hunting, dancing or cultivating the land. They rely more on line than colour, usually being drawn with white rice paste. Ritualistic paintings were formerly done by Warli women but have now been taken over by the men who prefer to depict everyday scenes.

"The crop is ready for harvest and fields of rice paddy are swaying in the gentle breeze of autumn. The village folk are anxious to harvest their produce. The rivers are full, and stocked with fish. The hunters have returned with two plump wild boars and the women folk are busy preparing for the night`s feast. Men and women join hands and hop along shoulder to shoulder in concentric circles matching the rhythm of the drum and the ghumroo. The people drink "Mahu Dharu", made from the fruit of the Mahua tree, which grows abundantly in this part of the Western Ghats."

Warli Art

This is how Anil Vangad a Warli artist visualises his village during the harvest season. Anil comes from Ghanjaad, a tiny village of only five hundred families in the Thane district of Maharashtra.

Subjects of Painting

The typical subjects on whom Warli Art is done are:

  • Festival
  • Harvest
  • Folk story
  • Celebration
  • Temple Marriage

It basically consists of geometrical patterns

Circle: represents sun and moon.

Triangle: depicts mountains ,pointed trees and Human beings.

Square: depicts a sacred enclosure or a piece of land. So the central motive in each ritual painting is the square.

The colours used by Warlis are not permanent but the paintings were made again on different occasions. Typical Warli paintings background colours are Henna, Indigo, Ochre, Black, Earthy mud and Brick red.Typically Warlis paintings are simply painted on mud, charcoal and cow dung treated surfaces with rice paste for white colour.These paintings do not show pictures of gods and goddess but shows social life. Images of human beings and animals, along with scenes from daily life are created in a loose rhythmic pattern.

Painted white on mud walls and usually depict scenes of human figures engaged in activities like hunting, dancing, sowing, harvesting, going out, drawing water from well, drying clothes or even dancing.

warli Cultivate Art

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