Welcome to the world of warli, a world in which everything is magically transformed as if into a magical land in a child's vibrant imagination, where people have two triangles for bodies and sticks for arms and legs and houses have seemingly simple thatched roofs!!
At first glance, the simple drawings of a warli painting appear to be a child's work, but on further inspection, we realize the complex thoughts behind such a simple art form. Warli is essentially what is called a 'tribal' art form, developed over the years by the simple village folks of the state of Maharahstra, to express their thoughts and feelings about their surroundings, their day to day life, festivals and events. Slowly though over a period of generations, the work has come to encompass those objects that perhaps are not really a part of a simple villager's life, but rather a view of the modern life, through a much clearer, point of view.
Most of the villages in the state of Maharashtra have a few 'warli' artists, these artists learn the art of painting these intricate and detailed paintings not in a school, but rather the old fashioned way, sitting by their father's side and observing him draw and paint complex pieces.Traditionally these pieces are not painted on paper or cloth but rather on the walls of the villager's homes, depicting various events, weddings, festivals, village dances, temple processions, harvest and other farming scenes.
A warli painting has the most humble beginnings imaginable, the artist first prepares the surface to be painted upon by smoothening and plastering the wall with a paste of cow dung, once dry, naturally occurring white clay or calcium is used to draw out the figures, animals, trees, temples and houses. This is the reason why most warli paintings appear as white on brown combinations. Today as the art form has been popularized so much, it is not rare to find other combinations, but not with too many variations, as these are the colours that are easily identified with the original tribal art form.
|© Wilder India , Illustration - Nayna Shriyan|
Temple Scene 'Shekhroo'
In creating the book, 'Shekhroo' we wanted to keep the original look and feel of warli, so while we didn't actually use cow dung, and white clay! we did use a rough paper and painted it with a thick coat of poster colour, simulating the slightly coarse look . The figures, background imagery, and supporting cast of animals were all painted in a stark white, while the main staring hero, 'Shekhroo was painted in his original colours of a dark shade of maroon and gold!Here he is in his favorite tree waiting by the temple, to know why you will have to read the story!!