The Gondwana Art Project is poised to unveil its latest exhibition, “Modern Tribal – Connecting Traditions”, at the Main Gallery Bikaner House in New Delhi, marking a significant convergence of tribal and contemporary art.
The exhibition, scheduled to run from January 29 to February 5, 2024, focuses particularly on the intricate artistry of Gond and Bhil paintings.
Featuring a nuanced exploration of tribal aesthetics, the exhibition promises to captivate audiences with its display of patterns, lines, dots, motifs, and a vibrant palette – a testament to the artists’ commitment to capturing the essence of folklore and life within tribal communities.
One of the exhibition’s key thematic elements is its emphasis on storytelling, showcasing how artists skilfully interweave modernity into traditional narratives. Breaking boundaries between indigenous and modern art, the showcase delves into the evolution of traditional craft, unveiling how age-old techniques transform through modern composition and styles. At its core, “Modern Tribal – Connecting Traditions” aims to celebrate living traditions, illustrating the adaptive prowess of tribal art in the contemporary world without compromising its cultural essence.
Originating from South Asia’s largest tribal community, Gond paintings, featured in the exhibition, cover a spectrum of themes including folk stories, religion, festivals, and nature. The distinctive use of bright colours and elaborate patterning characterizes these artworks. Bhil painting, practiced by the second-largest tribal community in central India, manifests in rituals, songs, dances, and paintings that depict a life intricately connected to nature, distinguished by distinct dots with multiple symbolic meanings.
In addition to the visual feast, special events have been planned to enrich the visitor experience. A notable highlight is the Young Collectors Walkthrough on February 2, 2024, at 5 pm, showcasing tribal art from central India made on phonograph records, in collaboration with Manya Records. Moreover, a talk by Rachael Parsons, Director and Curator of New England Regional Art Museum, Australia, on the evolution of indigenous art and its coexistence with modern and contemporary art is scheduled for January 30, 2024, at 11:30 am.
Underlining its commitment to sustainability, the exhibition features tribal art on unusable gramophone records – a unique initiative that upcycles old vinyls, hand-painted by tribal artists, catering to the environmentally conscious audience.
Intriguing collaborations add depth to the exhibition’s narrative, with partnerships including NERAM (New England Regional Art Museum, Australia), exploring the similarities between Indian tribal arts and First Nations Art of Australia. The collaboration with Shop DRAWN, a clothing label dedicated to wearable art, presents a luxury collection of clothes featuring Gond art images. Additionally, Records Manya, an Israeli Foundation, promotes sustainability by utilizing unusable gramophone records in creating tribal artworks.
Founder of the Gondwana Art Project, Sundeep Bhandari, expressed excitement about the collaborative exhibition with Australian artists.
“This exhibition, held in conjunction with the India Art Fair as a parallel event, underscores the project’s mission to support tribal artists from the Gondwana region in creating modern and contemporary art using their traditional techniques,” said Bhandari.
When: 11 am to 7 pm; January 29 to February 5
Where: Bikaner House New Delhi