Recently, I came across a book titled ‘The London Jungle Book’ and I fell in love with not only the book, but its illustrations, done by the famous Gond artist Bhajju Shyam, nephew of Jangarh Singh Shyam, whom many consider the pioneer of the art form. On trying to find out more about this art form, I came across another book titled 'The Nightlife of Trees', and was left speechless by the beauty of this art. What I love about Gond art is that I think it has a very modern, almost graphical quality that seems to capture the imagination.
The Gonds are a tribal community from Madhya Pradesh and their origins can be traced to pre-Aryan times. Their art, seen in both color as well as black and white, appears like a collage of dots and dashes from up close, but merges into vibrant images of plants and animals that tell captivating folktales of these people. Each artist has a unique signature in the form of the pattern of dots and dashes that make up their composition.
Here are some great examples of Gond art by a few of the masters.
Jangarh Singh Shyam
The above two images from The London Jungle Book by Tara Publishers
Images by Bhajju Shyam, Durga Bai and Ram Singh Urveti
from the book ‘The Night life of Trees’, Tara Publishers (Courtesy- Everything That’s Something-Yuti’s Blog)
Primal Spider- 3
[All images are copyright of respective artists]