Warli Art: An Experience
Aarathi Kumaran, a high school senior from Bangalore, India, discusses Maharashtran art as an example of numerous Indian art forms.
I could barely feel my legs as I sat cross legged on the floor bent over my
I was excited! This was the part I loved most. Finally, I could add the finishing
touches to my Warli painting which had approximately taken over 20 hours,
across several weeks, to complete.
Warli Painting is a form of tribal art created by the tribal people of Maharashtra.
Warli paintings are one of the finest examples of folk style paintings. This art
form dates back to 10th century A.D. Warli paintings mostly consist of elements
of nature. Clay huts were used as the back drops for their paintings, similar to
how ancient people used cave walls for their art.
I am also trained in other traditional art forms such as “Madhubani” and
“Kalamkari” paintings. For the past several years, I belong to a community of
artists who wish to preserve ancient art forms of India which are on the verge of
vanishing. The culture in India is everything from people’s living, rituals,
values, beliefs, habits, knowledge, etc. India is also considered as the oldest
civilization where people still follows their old habits of care and humanity.
Indian art can be defined as the spiritual, hieratic or is the best of all as
traditional. As India is a multi-religious country, each religion has its own kind
of art form. The Indian styles of paintings have unique origins and history
behind them which make them even more interesting. Some of the art forms of
1. Madhubani Painting – Bihar
These [painting derive their name from a village called ‘Madhubani’ in
2. Tanjore Painting – Tamil Nadu
These paintings were first painted in the 16th century. It is known for the
vibrant colours used. The theme of these painting are mostly gods and
3. Warli Art – Maharashtra
Warli Art is a 400 year old tribal art form. This art is based on nature,
weddings, harvest etc.
4. Mughal Painting – Mughal era
This art form advanced between the 16 th and 19 th century. The theme of
these battles were mostly battles, hunting scenes, court scenes, wildlife
5. Kalamkari Painting – Andhra Pradesh
Kalamkari means ‘pen art’. This art form flourished under the rule of the
6. Pattachitra Painting – Orrisa
These paintings originated in the 8th century and are known to be one of
the earliest forms of indigenous art.
7. Rajput Painting – Rajputana
This art form flourished in the 18 th century. Colours used for these
paintings were extracted from precious minerals like gold and silver,
stones and plant sources.
8. Gond Painting – Madhya Pradesh
This art form mainly consists of animals and birds.
There are many different eras that have come and gone but no era was very
powerful to change the influence of the real culture. Hence, the culture of
younger generations is still connected to the older generations. Our ethnic
culture always teaches us to respect elders, behave well, care for helpless
people, and help the needy and poor people. As said by Mahatma Gandhi, “A
nations culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.”
Under the guidance of master artisans, we learn ancient art techniques and
forms. I strongly believe that art reflects cultural values, beliefs, history and
unique identities. In learning and preserving these ancient art forms, I am happy
to pass on these wonderful, age-old unique techniques to others so that these art
forms may exist forever. I am excited to learn many more cultural art forms
from other parts of the world! Art is a wonderful shared experience.