Warli Painting

Craftsmen : Jivya Soma Mase Padma Shri & National Award Winner Ramesh Hengadi
The Warlis live in the Thane district of Maharashtra. They are inborn tribal artists and their painting tradition is more than 1200 years old. It was the women of the tribe who created these wall paintings and they were greatly influenced by their surroundings and their day-to-day life. The walls of the huts were coated firstly with cow-dung, then mud and finally “geru” (terracotta). In a metal cup powdered rice was made into a paste and then thin reed like sticks from the baharu tree were used as pens to make geometric shapes like circles, triangles, squares, etc. Today it is the men who practice this art form. These paintings currently drawn in white on paper thinly smeared with cow-dung paste, have semi abstract line figures spread over the surface in an easy narrative flow. They have evolved from restricted ritual drawings on mud-walled huts into a pictorial repository of folk tales, humour and myth. The paintings startle visually without the prop of colour and with a remarkable economy of detail. Realizing that there is a growing demand for the lyrical art, the Warlis have moved from painting the walls of their homes to painting on cloth, paper, table lamps and even saris & dupattas.