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Tribal paintings by Aadi Chitra at Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh

Tribal paintings exhibition Aadi Chitra at Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh

Sitting on a mat, Gond and Bhil artist Dinesh Shyam is focused on his art; a tiger it is this time that he is painting with little dots and smaller lines. Part of the ongoing exhibition, Aadi Chitra at Government Museum and Art Gallery-10, Dinesh is too happy to share his initiation into tribal art.

Tribal paintings by Aadi Chitra at Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh

This Madhya Pradesh tribal art involves decorating huts with colours mixed in cow dung. As paper and acrylic made way, an artist, Jangarh Singh Shyam, from a nearby village, switched mediums for their art to reach beyond their homes. And as a 10-year-old, Dinesh learnt it from his master and now, he is happy travelling with his the exhibitions. “On the walls, the scale of this work is massive, on paper you can’t replicate that – so we go small, really small,” shares Dinesh, getting back to work, each one of the size of A4 sheet, taking him a day-and-a-half to finish.

Tribal paintings by Aadi Chitra at Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh

While plenty of Gond and Bhil paintings are mounted on the walls, giving them company are Pithora from Gujarat, Saura from Orissa and Warli from Maharashtra. “A Pithora isn’t a Pithora unless it is covering an entire wall,” shares an enthusiastic Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd fellow. But those who cannot have it, there are smaller frames with animals and Pithora Devis and Devas. “Each animal that’s etched has a tilak, endowing it a divine quality.”

So, interact with the artists or buy a frame or two to keep your connection alive with long tribal tradition.

(Aadi Chitra is on at the Government Museum and Art Gallery till February 21, 2016)

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