The diversity of the world’s largest national population is astounding.
122 languages, including the planet’s oldest language: Hindi. 12 religions. 1.408 billion people (est. 2021). 29 states.
This pluralism nurtures an insane wealth of art and cultural expression. Arguably, this is the creative soul of Earth.
cgk.ink is exploring this rich history. And we’re here to share our very fundamental, simple understanding of its expressions, its forms and what it says to us now in the 21st century.
Madhubani paintings are the most celebrated style of folk painting from India; it is a form of wall art that arises in the Mithila region of Bihar. This eye-catching art style never fails to amaze one by its beautiful illustrations on the exposed interior walls of the houses in Bihar. Madhubani paintings are a perfect example of artistic expression and evocative portrayal of culture and traditions. The designs make perfectly distinctive geometrical patterns, scenes from mythology, and symbolic images. The perfect blend of bright vibrant colours and unique patterns make Madhubani stand out from other painting styles. Katchni, Tantrik, Bharni, Khobar, and Godna are five different styles of Madhubani paintings.
Warli is a 2500-year-old traditional painting style from Maharashtra majorly practiced in Thane and Nashik region. Warli paintings illustrate the nature and social rituals of the tribe. Warli paintings also showcase day-to-day life scenarios of the local people of that particular community just like dancing, farming, hunting, praying, etc. The local women used twigs to draw such beautiful lively designs with rice paste on mud walls to convey the celebration vibes of harvests or weddings.
The Kalighat painting was discovered around the mid-19th century at Kali Temple in Calcutta. These paintings and drawings were done on paper by a community known as “patuas”. A Kalighat painting depicts scenes of everyday life and mythological deities in a captivating manner. Kalighat artists use subtle earthy Indian colours like indigo, ochre, Indian red, grey, blue and white.
Phad is a traditional Rajasthani scroll painting from India, depicting the stories of local deities, heroic figures from battlefields, adventure stories, and legendary romantic stories on horizontal cloth scrolls with the hues of red, yellow, and bright orange. Phad Painting marvellously portrays multiple stories in a single composition and beautifully maintains the aesthetics of artistic expression.
Miniature / Mughal
Miniature painting is Mughal influenced art form; this style was introduced in India during the 16th century and transformed its identity in the history of Indian art. Miniature paintings are a blend of Islamic, Persian, and Indian elements. These paintings are created using all-natural mineral colours, precious stones, conch shells, gold, and silver. Across India, the miniature style painting has developed its own identity into distinct schools of miniature paintings like Kangra, Rajasthan, Malwa, Pahadi, Mughal, Deccan, etc.
Gond paintings are a series of arranged dots and dashes developed by the Gondi tribe of central India. The tribes used to recreate some famous epic mythological tales of histories to traditional songs and rituals with rich detailing and bright colours. Traditionally, the colours used for gond paintings were derived from natural resources like cow dung, plant sap, charcoal, coloured soil, mud, flowers, leaves, etc. With growing times, the Gond art has moved beyond being a tribal art style.
Kerala mural paintings are the most unique art form and have deep spiritual roots depicting themes of Hindu mythologies, epics of the bye-gone era, classic tales of Krishna, and mystic forms of Shiva and Shakti. These traditional art styles are made up of bold strokes, and vivid colours. White, ochre-red, bluish-green, yellow-ochre, and pure colours are predominantly used in Kerala mural painting.
Patachitra is a traditional art form from Odisha. Patachitra paintings are mostly derived from mythological and religious themes done beautifully with bold, strong outlines, vibrant colors like white, red yellow, and black with decorative borders.
Picchwai artwork was made as wall hangings behind the main deity in Krishna temples in Nathdwara which narrates the stories related to Lord Krishna. Picchwais are the most colorful and intricate work concealed with symbolism in the artistic motifs. This classified devotional art practice has passed from one generation to another and a fine example of spirituality in art.