Reliving Handicraft: Gond Painting, Dindori

One of the most ancient tribes of our country; Gond, �based out of the Patangarh village of Dindori district has a unique way of expressing their livelihood. Instead of pen and paper to write their emotions, thoughts and history they chose canvas and natural colors to express themselves through paintings. Away from technology and other scientific resources they started making paintings of their traditional culture, animals around them, nature, God and all the things they see and feel around them. They took the help of nature to make their painting different shades like flowers for red and bright colors, mud for yellow and black shades, cow dung for dark green, leaves for green and charcoal for darker shades.

It all started 1400 years ago and came into the limelight when a Pradhan Gond Jangarh Singh Shyam painting of Hanuman made from yellow mud got noticed by the renowned artist, Jagdish Swaminathan. Slowly, the lives of many Pardhans went through a transformation as they took to this new art of painting stories of their lives with colors of the city and patterns of the village.

Every artist in the village has his/her own way of expressing through brush, sketch or a pencil. Their way of drawing gives a moving sensation to a still image. Painting has become such an integral part of their life that they believe making and seeing such images bring good luck, Peace and keep them away from negative vibes. That is why Gond women started beautifying them with different styles of tattoos all over their body to keep themselves away from bad vibes.

Image: Mohini Singh

Early on, they use to make paintings for themselves later it become source of income and people started painting from canvas to walls, walls to sarees and sarees to different articles to enhance its beauty through their paintings and earn for their livelihood.�But due to lack of market intelligence, their unawareness of the market demand and presence of middlemen they are facing huge challenge to stand in the market. No proper availability of market makes them rely on different mediums which doesn�t bring actual cost of their work.

Image: Mohini Singh

Handicrafts is facing a stiff challenge from machine-made goods and efforts should be made for the revival and survival of handicraft items. It has been observed that emphasis should be given on modification and development to improve tools and equipment, which are acceptable and comfortable to the craftsmen for products of high quality products as well as are economically viable. Market intelligence, taste, trends and preferences of the customers are also required to be identified and design diversification shall have to be undertaken accordingly. The price of the products should be competitive and economical too.



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