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Gond Art: The Tribal Art From India

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

India is a subcontinent with deep-rooted cultures and traditions. The folklore goes back to hundreds of years. Although with rapid urbanization the traditional way of life is gradually losing its luster, the art form still remains with local artisans struggling each day to keep their inherited craft alive. One such interesting art form in India’s Gond Tribal Art. Gond Art is an unique form of art that was carried on by the Gonds – one of the largest tribes in Central India, especially in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Gond Art is one of the oldest tribal arts that truly encapsulates the essence of the tribal art in India.  

How it started…

The vibrant, imaginative, and mystical Gond Art was started by the Gond tribe as a favorite pastime and the paintings were typically done on the walls of their homes, which echoed the customs of their ancestors who dwelled in caves and who were primarily forbearers. These paintings depicted the lifestyle & belief of the Gond tribe. Similar to other tribal art, Gond Art illustrates the folk tales and culture vividly. The paintings that were usually done on the walls of their homes portray  their beliefs, surrounding  &  faiths, 

While other paintings which were carefully painted on the walls of other places of public gatherings, like shops or small schools depicted the roots of the Gond Tribe – and outlined the local flora, fauna, celebrations, festivals, deities of worship, folk myths and tales and so on. Thus, storytelling is a very strong element in the Gond Art.

Gond Art is also believed to bring fortune. This belief stems from the faith that a beautiful  Gond Art brings good luck and wards off evil. The Gond Art is also primarily characterized by the imaginative use of lines and dots which brings a sense of balance and symmetry into the paintings. The resulting paintings are bright, vibrant and colorful, generally painted using natural colors that are derived from charcoal, cow dung, leaves, flowers, and plant saps 

What’s Gond Art like today…

The descendants of the Gond Tribe have taken the art to paper and canvas today, making these beautiful vibrant paintings come into the limelight. Art connoisseurs from across the country buy these paintings and bring life to their art walls in their homes or on the walls of an art museum. 

The elements of Gond Art Paintings still remain the same, with artists trying to cover the aspects of lifestyle of a typical Gond Tribal family. Today, Gond Art is recognized as one of the most popular and rather unusual forms of Tribal Art, making its way into Tribal handicrafts of India that have high artistic value. 

The bright and cheerful outlook of the paintings makes them interesting pieces of art. However, the colors used by modern-day Gond Artists are synthesized with chemicals to bring more variety to the paintings and also owing to the unavailability of natural colors today. The aesthetic, traditional and mysterious Gond Art brings to life the very soul of the Gond Tribe back to life – reflecting India’s rich artistic heritage at its best! 

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