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Living Art Traditions of India

With an aim to bring to the public the various indigenous folk and tribal art forms, Kalakriti Art Gallery presents ‘Living Art Traditions of India’ an exhibition focusing on original artistic sensibilities by artists from different parts of India.

Revealing a rich artistic narrative, the exhibition explores the diversity of folk and tribal art styles and techniques, that uses narrative to reflect a world that is fast changing and perhaps disappearing too, allowing the audience to connect with the journey the work has taken and the future ahead, engaging in a story that has not been touched upon in a contemporary Indian art space before. Even though artists in India have been practicing these artistic traditions for centuries, the world at large has come to know about these women and men, and only considers them to be artists in the last fifty years.

The folk art and handicrafts of India are as diverse as the culture of the subcontinent. The Indian way of life is replete with products created with the aid of simple, indigenous tools by craftspeople who belong within a strong fabric of tradition, aesthetic and artistry. The folk and tribal arts are a vast bounty of aesthetic and cultural practices we continually receive from generations of families and the communities with whom we work, play, and pray. These traditions can be described as the nation’s cultural roots. Each state has an abundance of traditional forms of art and crafts that have been passed on from one generation to the next and helped them sustain a living - Madhubani in Bihar, Kalamkari in Andhra Pradesh, Mata Ni Pachedi in Gujarat, Warli painting in Maharashtra, and Kalighat paintings and scrolls from West Bengal, to name a few.

While some artisans have adhered to age-old techniques and ideas, others have attempted to adapt to the changing times by imbibing contemporary themes and language. They derive their inspiration, innate wisdom, and skill not from books but from nature and their surroundings. Their art reflects the immense creativity of ordinary people and their quest for self-expression and fulfillment. These traditions that have continued undisturbed over the centuries have had to face the realities of rapid change brought about the inexorable forces of communication and globalization. However, India is still very creative in its villages, with the youth exposed to the art of making and transforming materials and spaces by the act of creation on a day-to-day basis. It is heartening to see renewed interest in our traditional art practices by art lovers, resulting in increased patronage for our gifted artists, thereby giving them the economic sustainability to continue with their art. It is in these art traditions that the spirit of India resides.

This exhibition will highlight the pioneering works by path-breaking artists including Anil Chaitya Vangad, Anwar Chitrakar, Dhanalakota Vaikuntam, Gitanjali Pranab Narayan Das, Kalyan Joshi, Sanjay Manubhai Chitara, Saroj Venkat Shyam, Shalini Karan, Sudheer, Suresh Waghmare, and Venkat Raman Singh Shyam. The exhibition will feature Gond, Madhubani, Warli, Patua scrolls, Pattachitra, Cheriyal, Kalamkari, Phad, Mata Ni Pachedi paintings and Ghadwakam idols among others. The exhibition is a humble attempt to celebrate the diversity of Indian art and give the audience the opportunity of a better understanding of the effort and craft indigenous to the art form.