Warli Painting - The History of a Tribal Art Form
If you’ve ever tried to renovate your house or went out on a hunt for traditional artefacts, you might have come across the term “Warli paintings” or “Warli art”. Ever wondered what it is? Read further and find out the great marvels of Warli paintings and where they originated from!
What is a Warli Folk Painting?
The great Warli painting is a form of tribal art that is mostly created by tribal people in the northern region of Sahyadri Range, which comprises cities like Jawhar, Palghar, Dahanu, Talasari, Mokhada, and Vikramgarh of Palghar district, in India. This art form first originated in the state of Maharashtra, where it is still practiced frequently. It is believed to be one of the oldest kinds of art forms in history. It is quite popular in India and is used to bring about a distinct charm everywhere it is expressed, but to date, it has not been able to gain much recognition outside the territory of the country.
History of Warli Painting
The Warli tribe is one of the largest tribes in India, located outside of the city of dreams- Mumbai. Even though they were located close to one of the largest cities of India, yet the Warli resort to rejecting much of the contemporary cultures and lifestyles.
To the untrained eye, these paintings seem to be nothing more than Warli figures drawn in whites on rich dark walls, but a closer inspection shows that Warli is far more than meets the eye. To many, it may seem like just a simple art form of India, but for the Warli tribes located in mountains and coastal regions in and around Maharashtra and Gujarat's borders it is a way of life. The origin of Warli art can be traced back to around 3000 BC and seems to have an enigmatic appeal to it. Even though the tribal style of art is believed to date back along with the 10th century A.D., the Warli paintings form was not known until the 1970s. Although the main way of life and a large source of food for the tribe was farming, they had great respect for nature and wildlife for the resources that they provided for life. On various occasions, this type of painting was found to be mainly centred around the concept of mother nature and her elements. Quite often, various parts of nature are the focal points that are further accentuated in these paintings. A very fascinating fact about Warli artists is that they used their clay huts as the backdrop for their masterpieces, much like how ancient people utilized their cave walls as canvases.
Designs and Styles of Warli Paintings
When one looks at a Warli painting, it is the intricate geometric patterns of flowers, hunting scenes, wedding rituals, and any other activities that makes the paintings stand out. Its beautiful yet delicate patterns bring about a certain appeal to the painting. These designs and models are currently very common with fashionistas and home goods brands.
People from the state of Gujarat and Maharashtra have a special sense of sentiment attached to this art form because they’ve seen them on the walls of various rural schools and homes, way before they gained popularity.
How to make a Warli Painting?
Warli paintings are traditionally practiced on mud walls with white paste. This white paste is a mixture of rice and water, along with gum that acts as a binding catalyst. Further bamboo sticks, chewed at the end, are used to act as a paintbrush. They usually carry a close resemblance to prehistoric cave paintings. In today’s date, if you were to perform a Warli painting, you can start with an ochre background and further use white paint to draw the caricatures.
It is important to note that generally straight lines are not a common sight in a Warli painting and they usually consist of a series of dots and dashes arranged linearly to portray a scene. The Tarpa dance is one of the central aspects depicted in many Warli paintings.
Evolution of Warli Paintings
Over, the years Warli paintings have evolved drastically. Initially, these beautiful masterpieces were curated on mud walls with a paste of rice and water, that was used to paint the characters on the canvas, and chewed bamboo sticks were used to act as a paintbrush. On the other hand, today the conventional paints and paintbrushes can create an end product just the same!
Other than that, Warli paintings are not just restricted to the traditional mud walls anymore. They’ve expanded on a great scale in the home decor industry and seem to be growing day by day. From pots and vases to bedsheets and curtain prints, they are becoming increasingly popular and are highly liked by the public too. Not just the home decor world, but the textile and clothing industry is quite fond of this beautiful Indian art form too. These days witnessing a beautiful Warli painting printed saree adorned by women on the street or the fashion show ramp is a common sight that is very much liked by everyone!